Obama’s leadership school at KU releases first batch of African leaders

IUSAID regional coordinator Kim Kippels (right) awards Donnas Ojok from Uganda after completion of his YALI programme. (Photo: George Njunge/Standard)
The first batch of young trainees of the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) Friday graduated from the East Africa's Regional Centre at Kenyatta University.

The 78 trainees from 13 countries across East and Central Africa had spent 12 weeks undergoing a rigorous training in transformational learning and enhanced leadership.

YALI Regional Director Mark McCord said that the trainees have been equipped with the capacity to offer leadership to challenges facing their respective communities.

"The training programmes are customized to the needs, wants and desires of the African people. With such skills, many communities in the region will able to offer solutions to their own problems," said McCord addressing the graduates at Kenyatta University.

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McCord said that the aim of the training is to produce innovative, result oriented and collaborative skilled individuals able to engage communities through public and private partnerships: "This will promote economic cohesiveness and entrepreneurship among the young generation."

Over 60 percent of Africa's population is made up of individuals under the age of 35, majorly involved in entrepreneurship.

These numbers prompted US President Barack Obama, through the YALI initiative, to roll out training programmes in civic leadership, public management, business and entrepreneurship by launching a regional center at Kenyatta University to the country in July.

Apart from Kenya, other YALI centers are located in Ghana, South Africa and Senegal.

"This initiative will help to produce dedicated young people committed to public service with national interest at the core of their service," said Kenyatta University Vice Chancellor Olive Mugenda.

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Kenya produced 28 graduates out of 78.

Since the introduction of the programme in Kenya, US Ambassador to Kenya has lauded the programme had been launched at the right time for the country.

"With the fast growing middle class who are educated and economically empowered, decisive leadership will be important in order to increase investments and propel growth in the county," said Godec.

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YALIYoung African Leadership InitiativeKenyatta UniversityBarack Obama