The YALI Regional Leadership Centre (RLC) in West Africa, in collaboration with the Ghana Institute of Management and Professional Administration (GIMPA) on Friday held a closing ceremony of the Emerging Leaders Programme (Cohort 13) in Accra.
In all 115 participants completed the residential training course bringing the number of trained young Africans within four years of the project implementation to 4,531.
The Emerging Leaders Programme which is supported by USAID, the Master Card Foundation, GIMPA, Dow Chemicals and other partners brought young men and women leaders from nine West African countries to build their leadership skills, network and provide solutions to the contemporary issues facing the sub-region and the continent.
The event was also used to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between YALI Regional Leadership Centre and the American Chamber of Commerce in Ghana to lend more support to the project.
Welcoming participants to the closing ceremony of the programme which would officially end in April 30, this year, Mrs Shola Safo-Duodu, Project Director said the Ghana Cohort 13(the trainees) saw more women being trained over the past three weeks adding that it was an achievement that would hopefully be replicated in future cohorts.
“We are inspired that our participants and alumni base is a vibrant network of energetic and enterprising young leaders contributing to the development of their communities, organisations and countries,” she said.
She said the Accra based RLC hoped to provide additional opportunities for more young people, especially women and persons with disabilities, to access the training in the coming years to improve their leadership skills and create jobs opportunities, advocate development for their communities, organisation and countries.
Mrs Safo-Duodu said the impact of the RLC over the past four years has been simply phenomenal adding that the Alumni have established enterprises that have created employment opportunities and sources of livelihood to young people and women across the sub-region and beyond.
She said the alumni were in agribusiness, information technology, community development, renewable energy, youth development among most sector saying, “This morning as part of the closing ceremony we will launch YALI TV which is the brainchild of a few alumni in Ghana”.
She said YALI Africa has also been launched to become an umbrella institution for all the fear centres in Africa adding that together the four centres have trained nearly 14,000 young African leaders and leveraging their impact and strength was also part of the sustainability strategy going forward.
“As more alumni are added to this growing network with each graduating cohort, we are joining hands to ensure Africa’s development is accelerated,” she said.
In a speech delivered on his behalf, Prof. Ekow Bondzi-Simpson, Rector of GIMPA said GIMPA foresaw the potential of YALI RLC in harnessing and maximising the leadership potential of young Africans, “but little did we know we would be overwhelmed by the success stories of beneficiaries of this impactful initiative for years down the line”.
He said GIMPA appreciated the support of the sponsors since without the support, the project would not have come far adding that as an institution, GIMPA was committed to continuously support the Accra RLC to achieve its targets even as the centre geared itself for sustainability.
Prof. Bondzi-Simpson said it was their hope that the Accra RLC would attract the needed partners to sustain the great initiative for several years adding that it was a good start for American Chamber of Commerce-Ghana to support the centre with the needed assistance in providing the best training to Africa’s next generation of leaders.
BY LAWRENCE MARKWEI