2012 Innovation Summit and Mentoring Partnership for Young African Leaders

YALI2012[1]In June 2012, Meridian, in collaboration with the Department of State, hosted the Innovation Summit and Mentoring Partnership which brought 62 Young African Leaders representing over 42 sub-Saharan African countries for three weeks of professional exchange and entrepreneurial hands-on training. Participants represented such diverse fields as politics, media, IT, tourism, agribusiness, and social activism.

With an overall goal of emphasizing the importance of creating economic opportunity for young people and strengthening economic ties between the U.S. and Africa, the Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C. included high-level speakers from the U.S. Government and private sector, as well as foundations, think tanks and NGOs. In addition to focusing on trends in entrepreneurship and innovation, the two-day conference featured break-out sessions to highlight best practices and challenges in both the business and social sectors.

After the two-day conference, participants began the Mentoring Partnership and traveled to business internships in Seattle, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Miami, Huntsville, Denver, Chicago or Cincinnati for two weeks in U.S. cities to provide a hands-on experience in the American workplace and exposure to cultural aspects of American life. The 2012 Innovation Summit coincided with the African Growth and Opportunity (AGOA) Forum.

The two weeks in the U.S. cities provided hands-on experience in the American workplace and exposure to cultural aspects of American life. The Innovation Summit and Mentoring Partnership stressed social and business entrepreneurship as a tool for harnessing Africa’s intellectual capital to create jobs and sustainable, equitable opportunities. Looking to the future, these programs enhanced a U.S.-Africa collaboration to promote business innovation, investment, and social responsibility activities in Africa.

For more information on the Mentoring Partnership for Young African Leaders, please contact Project Director, Gretchen Ehle gehle@meridian.org.

Project summary

2012 Innovation Summit and Mentoring Partnership for Young African Leaders
Number of Visitors: 62
Regions: Africa
Impact Areas: Civic Engagement, Education, Entrepreneurship, Governance and Transparency, Media and Journalism, Youth Leadership Development
Program Areas: Exchanges, Forums
Partners: Public Sector
YALI2012[1]