Investing in the Future of Africa

 

Andrew Cedar is Senior Advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. He has helped to coordinate the Department’s Youth Task Force and the development of new youth policies at the Department.

 

This week, I am traveling with Judith McHale, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, to South Africa and Senegal. As the Under Secretary noted in her recent DipNote post, I will be blogging regularly to keep you updated on our travels. The trip is centered around highlighting the incredible role young people are playing in shaping the future of Africa. Last summer, President Obama hosted over 100 young African leaders in Washington, and we are here to keep up the momentum of our engagement with young Africans and strengthen our partnership with this generation.

We started our journey at the incredible African Leadership Academy, which draws talented high school students from over 30 African countries and grooms them to be the leaders of tomorrow. For example, meet Madia. She’s in high school. She isn’t sure where she wants to go to college. But she knows that 15 years from now she will be the President of her home country, Senegal. Next to her is Hafsa, who wants to specialize in sustainable industry and return to her native Morocco to be a trailblazer in green technology. Across from them are a collection of young men from Mali, Zimbabwe, Kenya and other parts of Africa, each with his own vision of the future: a budding teacher, neurosurgeon, and minister of health. Each has a different vision of how he will use his talents. However, they are united by their passion and energy for investing in the future of this continent.

Later in the afternoon, we visited RaizCorps, a business incubator that is helping young entrepreneurs to develop skills and businesses that will return a profit. Through an innovative incubation model, RaizCorps has built hundreds of businesses and helped create thousands of jobs across South Africa. We heard the stories of RaizCorps entrepreneurs and their enterprises, from mining businesses to laundry and dry cleaners. Through programs like RaizCorps, the entrepreneurial energy of young Africans is being harnessed and paying dividends for countries like South Africa and across the continent.

Today, we are set to meet with media leaders and to participate in a very special event with young Africans who are members of a science reading room as their parents visit the program for the first time. Stay tuned…more to come!

*This is a U.S. Department of State Official Blog*

Visit us at www.africom.mil

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