Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)

President Obama addressing the 2016 YALI Fellows.
President Obama addressing the 2016 YALI Fellows.

President Obama launched the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in 2010 as a signature initiative that supports young African leaders as they work to spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across the continent.

Through YALI, the United States is investing in an emerging generation of African leaders by committing significant resources to enhance leadership skills, bolster entrepreneurship, and connect young African leaders with one another, the United States, and innovative leaders in the private, civic, and public sectors.Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) programs such as the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, YALI Regional Leadership Centers, and the YALI Network provide interconnected avenues of opportunity for young Africans to grow their leadership skills.

Fellowship for Young African Leaders

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, begun in 2014, is the flagship exchange program of Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking.

The Fellowship provides 1,000 outstanding young leaders, between the ages of 25 and 35, from Sub-Saharan Africa an opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. higher education institution for 4-6 weeks, with support for professional development after they return home.

To be chosen as a Fellow, youth must have an established record of leadership in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, and communities.

Fellows will interact with President Obama at a presidential summit in Washington, D.C., meet with U.S. civic, business, and government leaders, and will have the chance to expand their business or project through access to millions of dollars of small grant funding.

YALI Network

The YALI Network is an online community that provides virtual resources and vibrant physical spaces to equip young African leaders with the skills and connections they need to foster change in their communities and their countries. Established by President Obama in December 2013, the Network already includes over 200,000 members. Using yali.state.gov and social media, the United States provides online courses and materials, and connects members with global leaders in their fields to help members develop leadership skills.

The YALI Network is available for anyone to take advantage of virtual training, tools, and technology:

  • Online courses & certificates: The YALI Network platform has created tailor-made online courses on leadership, business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management featuring U.S. university professors and experts in their fields. The training videos provide tips on everything from creating a business model to developing public-private partnerships, with supplementary guides with discussion questions and developmental actions.
  • Follow YALI Network on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for professional development and online discussions, including   monthly #YALICHATs with experts, professors and U.S. Government officials.
  • YALI Network face2face group– the ability to make connections with other young leaders in person: the YALI Network face2face Facebook group enables members to connect, network and collaborate on new initiatives.

Rwanda’s Young Leaders Share Their Experience of America

U.S. Embassy Kigali is pleased to share the stories of some promising young Rwandans who returned from the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Washington Fellowship.