Source: | Richard Fiebor, Ghana

Mr. Daniel Moore, a representative of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Africa, has on Friday, June 28 declared at GIMPA that the continent of Africa has a bright future considering the calibre of modern leaders being churned out from the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) programme.

Impressed by the success stories and the marvelous projects being carried out by the young men and women who received modern leadership training from the Regional Leadership Centres (RLCs) across the continent, Mr. Moore was moved to proclaim that “this is the third Cohort I have spoken at. I had the opportunity to engage with YALI alumni in my work in Africa. I have spent 25 years in Africa and I must admit, Africa has a bright future…”.

YALI was launched by the United States Government as a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. The RLC West Africa seeks to empower young men and women between the ages of 18 and 35 years from nine countries including Togo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, The Gambia, Burkina Faso, Liberia and Sierra Leone, who are ready to embrace leadership and work to transform their countries.

Mr. Moore addressed cohort 13 and 14 participants during a graduation and closing ceremony which was held at the Accra RLC at the Ghana Institute of Management and Professional Administration (GIMPA). He urged the graduating cohorts to be poised to impact their society.

He said: “I want to reaffirm the American people’s commitment to the YALI RLC. You are now poised to impact your society with your stories and you have the support of the USA government.”

He added that “Each of you will play a key role in the future of your countries in West Africa. Our hopes are placed in you. You are here because you are special people… If your actions inspire others to do more and to become more, then you are a leader.”

Some Cohort 13 Graduates of the Emerging Leaders Programme with Mr. Moore and a rep of the USA Embassy after the graduation ceremony at the Accra RLC

The USAID representative also assured the graduating cohorts that they were a part of a wide network therefore he charged them to be key contributors to the development of their countries because “we are all living on the same planet…if your country develops, then the world develops”.

Dr. Mrs. Shola Sarfo-Duodu, the Project Director of YALI RLC West Africa, in her remarks from the YALI RLC noted that since the inception of YALI, more than 4000 participants from West Africa have been trained in Ethical Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Public Policy and Management, Civil Society Management among others.

The Project Director indicated that 127 participants qualified for the Cohort 14 three-week onsite training from the nine participating countries. Unlike previous cohorts, the RLC admitted 63 females and 64 males into the Cohort 14 onsite programme making it gender balanced. Meanwhile, all qualified 127 participants partook in a compulsory two-week online training before making it to GIMPA.

Dr. Mrs Shola Sarfo-Duodu, Project Director of YALI RLC West Africa

Social Trip

Dr. Mrs. Sarfo-Duodu intimated that for the first time the RLC organized the legendary Social Trip within Accra at the Legon Botanical Gardens. Over there, the Cohort 14 participants had a lot fun and partook in several adventurous activities.  


Again, Dr. Mrs. Shola Sarfo-Duodu maintained that the RLC is in partnership with California State University which is in the USA. She explained that partnering with the university would make the online training phase more exciting because it would be enhanced. Apart from that it [the partnership] would deepen the relationship between the RLC and California State University since a lot of the alumni are going to be exposed to the American culture which would help them make a difference in their communities and organizations.   

For example during the onsite training for Cohort 14 participants, an International Accelerator [an expert who improves collapsing businesses] Finance and Investment expert, Mr. Mike Miller visited the Entrepreneurship Track and interacted with them. Mr. Miller is the Principal of Wild Horse Labs., a USA based company. He has great interpersonal relationships and partnership with young people.

Award Presentation

As YALI is wont to do, awards were presented to participants who exhibited outstanding leadership skills. The award categories included The YALI Leadership Awards; The YALI Spirit Award and the Outstanding Participants on the Tracks Awards.

The YALI Leadership Awards went to Mr. Freddie Sovermie (Cote D’Ivoire), Mr. Stanley Smith Acquah (Ghana) and Mr. Mohammed Mak (Sierra Leone).

The YALI Spirit Award went to Mr. Francis Mendee.

Then some outstanding participants on the various tracks including Civil Society Management Track, Entrepreneurship Track and the Public Policy and Management Track also received awards.   

The YALI Network

After completing the post-training activities which include Mentorship, Community Service and or Internship and writing and submitting a report on all the five phases (Online training, Onsite training, Mentorship, Community service/Internship and Report Writing) of the Emerging Leaders programme, the graduating Cohort 13 participants were awarded certificates and ushered into the YALI Network.

The YALI Network provides virtual resources and physical spaces to equip the new leaders with the skills and the connection they need to foster change in their communities and their countries.

YALI was launched in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance and enhance peace and security across Africa.

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