The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. The need to invest in grooming strong, results-oriented leaders comes out of the statistics: nearly 1 in 3 Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and approximately 60% of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35.
Who will empower and lead these young Africans? Who will shape the future of business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management? In order to answer these questions, YALI promotes three models designed to identify and empower young leaders: the YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship, YALI Network, and now the establishment of Regional Leadership Centers across Africa.
What are YALI Regional Leadership Centers?
There are four Regional Leadership Centers in Africa (Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, and Southern Africa). These centres will serve as regional hubs across the continent to encourage transformational learning and enhance leadership skills. The YALI Regional Leadership Centers are a project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in close partnership with The MasterCard Foundation. Each Regional Leadership Center is managed under a public/private partnership.
What is the YALI Regional Leadership Center Southern Africa?
The conceptualisation, development and curriculum content of the Regional Leadership Center Southern Africa (RLC SA) as led by the University of Southern Africa (Unisa) were heavily influenced by the developmental, political and economic dynamics of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
The RLC SA will develop the young African leaders in Business and Entrepreneurship Development; Civic Leadership; and Public Management and Governance through a hybrid of innovative and complimentary approaches that include contact sessions; online mentoring; online self-paced tuition; industry placements and experiential learning.
The centre will have year-long access to the state-of-the-art facilities at the Unisa School of Business Leadership in Midrand, Southern Africa for the English speaking participants. The same program will be replicated in Mozambique for Portuguese speaking participants as a way of reaching and opening access to the disadvantaged lusophone communities. Contemporary African issues such as HIV/AIDS, gender, responsible leadership and technology will also be infused into the program to develop young and transformative African leaders. The productive partnership with the local and USA universities; private sector partners as well as the regional bodies such as SADC and the African Union will contribute to the improved quality of the program as well as the access, reach and delivery mechanisms.
The RLC SA will, in collaboration with its partners, develop the 21st century skills that are the indispensable currency for participation, achievement and competitiveness in the global economy.
In pursuit of these ideals, the RLC SA aims to:
Create critical thinkers
Solve complex and multidisciplinary problems
Foster entrepreneurial thinking
Innovative use of information, knowledge and opportunities
Encourage communication and multicultural collaboration
Create awareness of contemporary African issues
Objectives of the RLC SA
To provide the platform and tools to empower dynamic young Africans
To awaken their innate leadership potential for the benefit of Africa and its global partners.