The U.S Department of State and the U.S. Africa Development Foundation (USADF) will support selected Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) entrepreneurs to attend and participate in the DEMO Africa 2014 conference, to be held in Lagos, Nigeria, on September 25 – 26.This announcement was made at a gathering of 500 Young African leaders, a forum that was addressed by the US President Barack Obama.
The move by the State Department was further emphasized by the prominence accorded to DEMO Africa at the 2014 US Africa Leaders’ Summit. The support has been welcomed by the DEMO Africa secretariat and the September event Local Organizing Committee (LOC) in Nigeria.
The LOC’s Chairman Yele Okeremi, commented that the State Department and USADF drive to support young African entrepreneurs serves to catalyze the economic growth of the continent “We are excited that our efforts to grow Africa are getting support from critical quarters. Support for start-up entrepreneurs is a solid move towards making Africa a first world given that the growth of the continent largely rests on the actions and decisions of these young entrepreneurs.”
Joining the LOC Chairman to commend the decision by US State Department and USADF, DEMO Africa Executive Producer Harry Hare added that African entrepreneurs need to work together to find world class solutions to needs that the continent is currently facing. “We look forward to sharing the platform with YALI entrepreneurs. I am sure that every attendee will leave having been further enriched with ideas.”
The State Department also announced plans to set up four Regional Leadership Centers in Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, and South Africa. The centers, which are set to begin operations in early 2015, are meant to improve the availability and quality of leadership training programs and professional development opportunities for young African leaders.
DEMO Africa recently released the list of the final forty start-ups that will get an opportunity to launch their product at the DEMO Africa in Lagos, Nigeria. Prior to the event, the start-ups will benefit from a six week coaching and mentorship program to be spearheaded by DEMO Africa and the US State Department. The mentorship program will be coordinated by Dr. Susan Amat, CEO of VentureHive, and will include both local and international mentors and coaches.