The U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson hosted AmCham Ghana CEOs at his residence for a breakfast meeting to discuss and explore ways that AmCham can help prepare the next generation of African leaders – an initiative which is being championed by Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).
The meeting was to discuss ways that AmCham, through its Member companies can help YALI equip the next generation of African leaders with the skills, knowledge and attitude needed to be successful and to stay successful.
The ambassador said in his remarks that, there’s the need to continue cultivating the spirit of entrepreneurship here in Ghana, and that the private sector has an important role to play in this agenda.
“Private sector participation in youth training can help build a more stable society. A society with more active citizens, more efficient producers and more responsible consumers.” The Ambassador added.
YALI was launched by the United States government as a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders and has since promoted three models designed to identify and empower young leaders: the YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship, YALI Network and now the establishment of Regional Leadership Centers across Africa including the Accra Regional Leadership Centre (RLC).
AmCham exists to promote commercial, cultural, educational and economic ties between Ghana and the United States. For this reason the Ambassador sees it as a “worthy partner, capable of selecting, empowering and further elevating the YALI initiative.”
Mr. Joe Mensah, president of AmCham Ghana who happens to be an advocate of youth development and empowerment sees the initiative as a formidable one and welcomes the partnership.
“When we get involved and engage these young people, it does not only help them to do stuff but also create companies and leadership.” He said this whiles making reference to the success stories of his company’s initiative – Kosmos innovation center.
Mr. Joe Mensah said Africa is at its current state because of poor leadership. He said, “We don’t have to accept the fact that Africa holds majority of the world’s resources yet it is the poorest.” He noted that if institutions support initiatives like the YALI program, Africa will be a force to recon with in the global economic space.
There is the need for strong partnerships with the private sector to overcome the multifaceted constrains to youth engagement that African countries stand to face for generations and according to Ambassador Jackson, these collaborations can come in many forms. He said, Collaborations such as internships will give cohorts real life experiences.
“I hope after today, new partnerships can be formed so that we can continue to promote African leadership for African development.” The Ambassador added.
He further encouraged AmCham companies to take up the YALI program as a corporate social responsibility and use their contacts to push YALI further.
There was a networking session where some alumni of the YALI program and some current cohorts interacted with the AmCham CEOs present.
AmCham will sign an MOU with YALI to take up cohorts for internship programs and provide other assistance to help sharpen and shape Africa’s future leaders.