The West Africa Regional Leadership Centre (RLC) of the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) – a long-term effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders and strengthen partnerships between the United States of America (U.S.A.) and Africa– has been launched in Accra.
The Centre, being hosted by Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), will offer innovative and effective leadership training programmes that will build the capacities of young persons to help transform the African continent.
The programme is two-pronged by design, with the Emerging Leaders Programme targeting Africa’s young leaders and the Executive Leadership Programme targeting the more experienced African leader group, while the overall program entails a combination of taught content as well as practical and in-the-field leadership engagements.
Under the programme, a total of 4,000 young people will be trained in four years, 1,000 annually –500 in person and another 500 on-line from any location around West Africa.
The pioneering class of 2015, the first cohort of young men and women between the ages of 18 and 35 from Togo, Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Burkina Faso, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are participating in the programme at the Accra Centre.
In an address to launch the Centre in Accra, yesterday, the Rector of GIMPA, Prof. Franklyn Acheampong Manu, said the future of Africa lay with the present generation of young people, adding that the greatest challenge of Africa was the task of emancipation from mental slavery.
In his remarks, Dr Victor Osei, Director, YALI West Africa, said in implementing the programme, linkages would be established with schools around West Africa as well as universities in the U.S. A.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Private Enterprise Federation (PEF) Ghana, Nana Osei-Bonsu, in a statement, said in as much as Africa accepted the benevolence of the U.S.A., it was important that the initiative was built on African cultural practices and reinforced the African norms of the 21st century.
Nana Osei-Bonsu, urged participants to deliver, in a respectful format, strong opposition to things that were inimical to the society, detrimental to the citizenry and to the demise of the African continent.
He pledged the commitment of PEF Ghana to providing internship opportunities for the participants to build their capacities and competencies in entrepreneurship, business management, governance and leadership.
In an address to launch the Centre, the Mission Director, USAID pledged USAID’s commitment to the success of YALI and the Accra RLC.
She expressed confidence in the participants in making an impact on education, health, journalism, sustainable development, rule of law and human rights, among others, in Africa and to take the continent to new heights.
YALI is a signature effort launched by the President of U.S.A., Barrack Obama, in 2010. The initiative is led by the United State government and the U.S. Department of State in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to invest in the next generation of African leaders by supporting young African leaders to spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, enhance peace and security, and shape the future of business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership and public management across Africa.
In 2012, USAID awarded two grants totalling US$1.3 million to support the core principles of YALI such as professional training, access to mentorship and networking opportunities in Africa, with the aim of increasing public and private sector engagement with the continent and enriching young leaders’ potential to contribute to economic, political, and social development of Africa.
And in July 2014, President Obama announced the creation of YALI RLCs in Africa to provide quality leadership training, support entrepreneurship and enhance professional development and networking.
The Accra Centre has been established with a US$12.5 million support from USAID Ghana, a five-year financial support from The MasterCard Foundation, whose mission is to advance youth learning and promote financial inclusion to catalyze prosperity in developing countries, PEF Ghana, a non-profit, non-political, autonomous institution and the apex business council of Ghana, and Africa 2.0 Foundation, a pan-African civil society organisation that provides a platform for emerging and established African leaders to drive forward the transformation of Africa. Other sponsors are Ecobank Ghana, Microsoft, Webster and Notre Dame Universities.