The MasterCard Foundation has committed $10million to help support The Obama administration’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) reach out to more than 10,000 young men and women in Africa.

On Monday, President Barack Obama has commended young Africans attending the 2014 Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) summit in Washington D.C. in the United States for their efforts to transform the continent.

This initiative is set to invest in the next generation of African leaders to spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance and enhance peace and security across Africa.

President Obama plans to create a network of YALI Regional Leadership Centers in Africa’s leading universities including Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Senegal.

“These Centers will provide practical training and development opportunities for emerging leaders on the continent, as well as a platform for their voices to be heard.”

MasterCard Foundation has made commitments totaling to $177 million in 17 countries to initiatives that are providing young people with demand-driven job skills, life skills, mentorship and access to financial services.

These skills and services enable young people to find more secure and productive forms of employment or establish successful micro-enterprises.

The announcement was made during a conference dubbed ‘The Presidential Summit of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders’ in Washington.

The three-day conference, July 28-30, brought together 500 of sub-Saharan Africa’s most promising young leaders to meet with U.S. entrepreneurs, government officials, and civil society representatives. The Presidential Summit follows six weeks of academic study at 20 institutions across the United States as part of the Washington Fellowship.

At the event on Monday, the US President changed the name of the summit from Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) to Mandela Washington Fellowship For Young African Leaders, in honour of the late South African leader, Nelson Mandela.

The summit, attended by at least 500 youths from across Sub-Saharan Africa, started with a speech by the Secretary of State, John Kerry, before the conversation session between the YALI fellows and President Barack Obama.

The initiative is President Obama’s signature effort to invest in the next generation of African entrepreneurs, educators and activists.

In collaboration with USAID, host institutions in Africa will provide instruction and collaboration space, expert training, and coursework for the Centers.

The Center in Ghana will be supported by a consortium of civil and private sector organizations including Africa 2.0, Africa Capacity Building Foundation, Ghana Private Enterprise Federation, and the Center for Policy Analysis, led by the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.

The Center in Kenya will have a robust training curriculum with direction from a partnership that brings together Deloitte’s global management and strategy skills, the established curriculum and capacity of Kenyatta University, the public administration training of the Kenya School of Government, and Africa Nazarene University’s youth engagement and outreach.

The Center in South Africa will benefit from an education alliance led by the University of South Africa, with support from the University of Pretoria, which brings expertise in governance training, and Innovation Hub, which provides entrepreneurship support.

The Center in Senegal will assist young entrepreneurs through the African Center for Advanced Studies in Management’s experience in professional management studies, the West African Research Center’s youth leadership training experience, and the Synapse Center’s support to young leaders.

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