This year’s cohort of 32 Mandela Washington Fellows represents the best and brightest of Ghana’s young professionals from diverse sectors across the country.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship programme of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking.
Speaking at an event in honour of this year’s cohort, the United States (US) Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie Sullivan, remarked that empowering the youth was at the heart of the US-Africa partnership, adding that “across the continent, US partners with national and local governments, Civil Society Organisations and citizens from all walks of life to advance mutually to reinforce the goals of democracy, prosperity and stability”.
To reinforce this point, she offered an opinion piece titled ‘The Future Belongs to Africa’, which outlines United States’ priorities in Africa and its goal to harness the potential of Africa’s youth as a force for economic ingenuity.
“Unless we harness the entrepreneurial spirit and dynamism of young Africans and help create jobs and opportunities that will help them thrive in their countries, we will not see the economic development needed to sustain these populations,” she said.
The US Ambassador reposed confidence in them, saying, “I believe in you and your capacity to transform Ghana’s future.”
An alumnus of the fellowship, Nana Opoku Ware Ofori Agyeman-Prempeh, stated that the initiative has helped and shaped him in all his endeavours, noting, “The fellowship is a global programme that gives youths the opportunity to explore.”
In 2019, the fellowship will provide 700 outstanding young leaders from sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. college or university with support for professional development after they return home.