BY Toneo Tonderai Rutsito
Recently The US embassy , Hypercube Hub inconjuction with #263Chat pulled close to 300 young Zimbabwean Entrepreneurs across all sectors to discuss the opportunity to join 500 other African youths in the United states of America under a programme called Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) 2014 and also identified Zimbabwean problems and how to solve them.
On the interesting YALI, a programme launched by President Obama, the application deadline is this week the 27th of January 2014 and the young entrepreneurs are advised to apply here
The event panel list was graced by the US ambassador Mr Bruce Wharton, Mr Macon Phillips coordinator of the US state department, Irene Chikumbo community manager of Hypercube Hub, Simbabrashe Mhungu a YAli alumnus and Delta Ndou social media commentator and moderation by Nigel Mugami of 263chat, The trending hashtag was #263yali, happening at the Hypercube Hub.
Of Interest is Mr Bruce Wharton comment when he said Zimbabwean entrepreneurs are privileged to be upcoming in this social network era, he said there is no better time for us as social network players to tell the Zimbabwean story.
Mr Macon Phillips also added that one of the things that’s most frustrating to the people I have spoken with is just how misunderstood Zimbabwe is by the rest of the world , you are going to solve this problem by telling a story about Zimbabwe and the way you do that is by celebrating each other success and there is no better time in history than in this social media time”
The same sentiment was shared on by most attendees as technology becomes the irresistible tool that has taken the world by storm and Zimbabweans too have been embracing it to change their lives.
For those interested in applying for the YALI programme, Mr Philips said “the initiative was NOT a programme for people want to be leaders but for leaders who want to take it to the next level and the application is about demonstrating those results”
YALI is. a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.
According to the official US portal through YALI, the United States has invested significant resources to enhance leadership skills, spur entrepreneurship, and connect young African leaders with one another and with Americans.
Since 2010, the State Department has held fifteen exchanges specifically for young African leaders and sponsored 1,283 sub-Saharan scholars through its educational and cultural affairs programs. U.S. Embassies have awarded small grants totaling $750,000 to YALI alumni groups supporting youth development in Africa.
Other State Department-led efforts, such as LIONS @FRICA and Apps4Africa, have focused on building an entrepreneurial ecosystem to encourage broad-based economic growth and opportunity for young entrepreneurs – partnering with the private sector to run startup competitions, grow incubators, and develop innovative new products to address local and business and development needs.
USAID has worked with local governments and institutions to strengthen access to education, workforce training, and skills development to help young Africans have the skills needed to enter the labor force. Since YALI’s inception, USAID has invested more than $100 million in over 76 partnerships with African universities to help train a new generation of African leaders in health, agriculture, education, environmental science, technology, and other sectors.
Currently USAID’s Higher Education Solutions Network—a $25 million per year program—partners with African and U.S. higher education institutions, using science, technology and engineering to educate future leaders and research solutions for the greatest challenges in development.
To further expand YALI, USAID will establish regional hubs to enhance leadership and training opportunities in Africa and better leverage over $200 million in on going youth programs and initiatives, such as university partnerships and vocational training, on the continent.