On July 28, 2014, President Obama announced the creation of four Regional Leadership Centers in Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa. Beginning in 2015, these Centers will improve the availability and quality of leadership training programs and professional development opportunities for young African leaders.
Each will be run as a public-private partnership, capitalizing on the energy and dynamism of the private sector, the knowledge of African and American institutions, and the programmatic and educational resources of the U.S. Government. The Centers will focus on engaging young leaders from a wide range of organizations and backgrounds and with a diversity of experiences. The Regional Leadership Centers will:
- Provide Quality Leadership Training: Centers will provide both long and short courses on leadership and issues across multiple sectors.
- Support Entrepreneurship: Centers will provide entrepreneurship support services, including mentoring, technology, and access to capital.
- Enhance Professional Networking: Centers will offer young leaders the opportunity to connect with each other, American professionals, and experts from across the region.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide $38 million for the creation of and programs in the Regional Leadership Centers. American and African companies and foundations have more than matched these funds, providing principal capital for the startup costs, equipment, and technology for the Centers.
The MasterCard Foundation will provide financial support over five years to develop the Centers. With financial and in-kind contributions from Microsoft, Dow Chemical Company, Intel Corporation, and Cisco Systems, the U.S. Government will be able to establish and maintain the Centers, and provide business software and hardware, mentoring, and information technology training through them. With in-kind support from Procter & Gamble, General Electric, Atlas Mara, and McKinsey & Company, the U.S. and its partners will be able to provide leadership training, technical support, and access to capital for young entrepreneurs.
The U.S. Government has joined with the following partners to establish and deliver high quality training, support, and networking through the Centers.
In collaboration with USAID, host institutions in Africa will provide instruction and collaboration space, expert training, and coursework for the Centers.
The Accra Regional Leadership Center (RLC) will cover all Anglophone West Africa countries and will have two main training sites: Accra and Lagos. The Accra RLC will bring at least 900 young West African leaders to both countries each year for leadership training and mentoring in key areas, including: Business Management and Public Administration; social entrepreneurship; and civic leadership.
YALI will also expand the number of young African leaders who participate in this program and will focus on areas like Science, Technology, Agriculture, Engineering, Math, Education, and the Arts.
A consensus has emerged with WASEN Ghana and YALI Accra Regional Leadership Center (RLC) to provide a platform for more cohesive sectoral learning; engaging 10,000 young leaders over four years. The proposed partnership will provide targeted investments in and support for activities across West Africa.