Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI): Empowering Africa’s Future Leaders

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The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) was initiated by the United States Government to equip the upcoming generation of African leaders who will shape the future of various sectors across the continent, including business and entrepreneurship, civil society leadership, and public sector management.

Eligibility Criteria:

The competition for the YALI Regional Leadership Center West Africa is merit-based and open to young leaders from West African countries who meet the following criteria:

  1. Age: Applicants must be between 18 and 35 years old at the time of application submission.
  2. Citizenship and Residence: Applicants must be citizens and residents of specific West African countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Saint Helena, Senegal, Sierra Leone, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Togo.
  3. U.S. Citizenship: Applicants must not be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.
  4. Visa Eligibility: Applicants should be eligible to receive the necessary visa to Ghana.
  5. English Proficiency: Applicants must be proficient in reading, writing, listening, and speaking English.


If selected to participate in the YALI West Africa Emerging Leaders Program, the following expenses will be covered by the program:

  1. Visa to Accra (if required)
  2. Round-trip travel from your country of citizenship to Accra, Ghana
  3. Transportation to/from Kotoka International Airport to/from the YALI Regional Leadership Center, West Africa – Accra, for all non-Ghanaian participants
  4. For Ghanaian participants, transportation to/from the YALI Regional Leadership Center, West Africa – Accra, will be provided from your location of residence
  5. Customized academic and leadership courses
  6. Accident and sickness benefit plan during the course
  7. Housing and meals

Please note that the program will cover transportation costs only for those residing within the countries served by the YALI Regional Leadership Center, West Africa – Accra. Applicants from outside this region will receive transportation to/from Accra from their country of citizenship, with any additional costs to be covered by them.

Program Details:

The YALI program offers three tracks:

  1. Business and Entrepreneurship: Designed for emerging entrepreneurs aspiring to lead in the private sector or establish their own businesses in Africa.
  2. Civil Society Management: Tailored for individuals engaged or aspiring to engage in civic activities, working with non-governmental organizations, community-based groups, or volunteerism.
  3. Public Policy and Management: Suited for those pursuing or aspiring to work in government at any level, regional organizations like the African Union or the West Africa Community, international organizations such as the United Nations, or other public service-oriented organizations or think tanks.

Cohort 46 (Onsite) Selection Process and Criteria: Selection for participation in Cohort 46 (onsite) of the YALI Regional Leadership Center West Africa, Accra, will be conducted through a merit-based, open competition. Eligible applications will undergo review by a selection panel, followed by shortlisting. Shortlisted applicants will then be interviewed before a final selection is made and program invitations are issued.

The selection panel will assess applications based on the following criteria:

  1. Proven leadership experience in the domains of public service, business, entrepreneurship, or civic engagement
  2. Active involvement in public or community service, volunteer work, or mentoring
  3. Ability to collaborate effectively in diverse groups and respect differing viewpoints.
  4. Strong social and communication skills.
  5. An enthusiastic and positive demeanor.
  6. Demonstrated knowledge, interest, and professional experience in the chosen sector or track.
  7. Commitment to applying leadership skills and training for the betterment of their country and/or community post-program.

Applicants will be treated fairly and without bias, regardless of their race, ethnicity, color, gender, religion, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

For More Information,

Application Deadline: October 5, 2023

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