President Obama's Video Message -- Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)

White House Release
Bureau of African Affairs
April 14, 2014


Hello! And thank you for reaching out to be a part of our Young African Leaders Initiative. I launched this effort because I believe that the future of Africa will be defined by extraordinary young people like you, and the United States wants to be your partner. At our town halls at the White House and in Soweto, and in my meetings with young people across Africa, you’ve shown me that you have the talent, the drive, and the determination to become the next generation of African leaders.

That’s the spirit behind our Washington Fellowship program, which gives young Africans the opportunity to come to America and develop new skills and partnerships. To all of you—the nearly 50,000 who applied—I want you to know that I’ve heard you. Your applications were extraordinary. Your experiences, and your vision for your communities and your countries, are an inspiration. And as we go forward, we’re going to ensure that although we couldn't accept everybody into the Fellowship there will be opportunities for each and every one of you to somehow be involved.

That’s why today I’m excited to announce the newest part of our effort—the Young African Leaders Initiative Network. And I’m asking each of you to help lead the way. Because we’re already connected with you, and we want to build our relationship with you into a network of young people across Africa—to share new ideas and forge new collaborations. Working together, we can build the tools, training and technology you need to become the next generation of leaders in civil society, business and government.

I want to hear from you on how we can build this network. In the coming months, I’ll engage with you directly—online and through social media—to hear your ideas and answer your questions. To learn more about how to participate, just go to YALI.state.gov. I hope every single one of you will join us. Because your countries need you. The world needs you. We need your imagination, your optimism, and your idealism. And with this new network, I know we can be partners for decades to come.