YALI Network Member Collins Mabinda recent op-ed in All Africa:
Recently, I joined a network of young Africans who are each working in a myriad of ways to develop the continent. I joined the Young African Leaders Initiative Network, which is an initiative of the United States government and African countries. The initiative seeks to promote a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Africa that is open for business, entrepreneurship, and civic opportunities.
Each of the YALI network members has pledged to help develop Africa in their own little way.
Among the YALI network members, there is a flourishing farmer in Morogoro, Tanzania, a civic leader in Lagos, Nigeria who is fighting against malaria in a sprawling slum in Lagos, and a Zimbabwean entrepreneur who founded the first innovation hub in Zimbabwe, Hypercube. Some of the YALI network members will be chosen to become Mandela Fellows, which will see them attend leading institutions in the United States for eight weeks. An additional small group will stay behind and be offered internship opportunities in leading companies in the US. Ultimately, the fellowship will culminate in a Presidential Summit with US President Barrack Obama.
The partnership between the United States and Africa is now informed by the fact that Africa has to move from the periphery of world affairs, and move to the centre, where it becomes part and parcel of the global conversation.
This is an Africa that will be known for its opportunities and will be at the desk of policymakers in the White House, London, and other global capitals is what we seek as YALI network members.
Evidently, not all of us will be selected to become Mandela Fellows. However, I urge even those who will not be selected to become Mandela Fellows to continue engaging in the various networking opportunities, and work to build Africa one step at a time. One day, their efforts will be rewarded, and they will get other opportunities to showcase their talents.
Moreover, as young Africans, it is our duty to ensure that we create a new narrative for Africa. Africa is on the brink of takeoff, never mind a few instabilities here and there. It would be a tragedy if outsiders see Africa’s potential, but Africans don’t see this potential.