June 2022 - You are accessing an old version of our website. The SDGs Voluntary Commitments have been migrated here: https://sdgs.un.org/partnerships

You will be redirected to the new Partnership Platform in 10 seconds.

Description/achievement of initiative

Africa's large youth population presents a complex problem that requires strategic investments in education, health, energy, skills, economic reforms and good governance. At a time when sub-Saharan Africa is going through significant changes in economic, social and political, technological and environmental frontiers, some youth across Africa are being left out. YALI is set out to equip the next generation of skilled young African leaders. The objective in this partnership is to proactively engage, develop, and support the young leaders, exposing them to leadership tools, models and diversity of thought in a network of other youth and organizations changing the world.

Implementation methodologies

Admission into YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa is merit-based and open to young East African leaders who meet the following criteria: Are 18 to 35 years of age at the time of application submission, Are citizens and residents if the 14 countries of East and Central Africa, Are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. Are eligible to receive any necessary visa to Kenya, and Are proficient in reading, writing, listening and speaking English. This approach augments the Center’s overall instructional framework which focuses on:  Collaborative Learning: Through group projects, discussions, public speaking, and events; and  Immersive Learning: Through mentorships, internships, and hands-on application.  Static Instruction: Facilitator led sessions in a classroom setting  U-Learn: A diverse and dynamic on-line learning environment designed to provide educational, informational and media resources that enable, empower and enhance the knowledge and skills of young leaders who will be the change-makers in the region. These four areas of core instruction lay the foundation for Center participants to utilize their skills in the marketplace, in civil society, or in the public sector, by providing both knowledge and opportunity.

Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer

Business and Entrepreneurship Track This track caters to the range of emerging or aspiring entrepreneurs who hope to take on leadership roles within the private sector or build their own business ventures on the continent. This course explains Design Driven Entrepreneurship, a planning process that involves identifying, creating, testing, and implementing marketable solutions for challenges facing people and communities. This course covers the origins of human-centered design theory, the process and tools needed to design and maintain a human-centered business, and best practices for developing and testing products. Public Management Track Public leadership is a method for empowering people to participate in transformational social change. Public leadership comprises organizing, educating, and developing the capacity of others to take meaningful action to participate in the decision-making systems that affect their quality of life and social well-being. Participants learn how to understand and analyze the theoretical basis for social transformation, varied leadership styles and strategies, the role and importance of ethical considerations in public management leadership, human rights and explore how to evaluate projects/ programs through a human rights lens, how to define the concept of power and understand the role of knowledge and societal structure in the process of empowerment. Civic Leadership Track Focused on those who are or aspire to be civically engaged and serve the public through nongovernmental organizations, community based organizations, or volunteerism of their time, skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to improve life in their communities by positively impacting individuals, organizations and issues and contribute to the common good of a community. The program focuses on Social Innovation for Changemaking. Other Activities: The Center also hosts special events on several evenings during the residential portion of the program. These include networking events, community service, special guest speakers, cultural events and lastly, participant initiated events. Every aspect of the four-week program is designed to add value to the entire learning experience.

Coordination mechanisms/governance structure

The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) was launched by former President of the United States Barack Obama as a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. YALI promotes three models designed to identify and empower young leaders: the YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship, YALI Network, and the Regional Leadership Centers across Africa. There are four Regional Leadership Centers (Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa). These Centers serve as regional hubs across the continent to encourage transformational learning and enhancing leadership skills. The YALI Regional Leadership Centers are a project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in close partnership with The MasterCard Foundation. Each Regional Leadership Center is managed under a public/private partnership. YALI Regional Leadership Center EA overseen by Deloitte East Africa and is supported by a growing number of African and international partners. The YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa, located at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya serves 14 countries in East and Central Africa: Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Selected participants will engage in leadership training across three tracks of study: (1) Business and Entrepreneurship, (2) Civic Leadership, and (3) Public Management in a 4-week residential format with a focus on individual and team leadership skills, innovation, creative learning, and communication. The program's emphasis is on interactive and experiential learning which fosters each participant's ability to contribute both individually and in teams. YALI RLC East Africa is managed by a team of 18 staff and overseen by a steering committee of 9 members drawn from partner organizations.


USAID, MasterCard Foundation, Kenyatta University, Deloitte East Africa, Kenya Commercial Bank Group, Microsoft, Dow, Citi Group, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Progress reports
Goal 4
4.4 - By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship
Goal 8
8.3 - Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
8.5 - By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
Goal 10
Goal 16
Goal 17
17.6 - Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, in particular at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism
17.9 - Enhance international support for implementing effective and targeted capacity-building in developing countries to support national plans to implement all the sustainable development goals, including through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation
April 2019
Equip 2,775 youth with leadership skills, so far over 2,200 youth alumni from 14 East and Central African Countries
Financing (in USD)
16,000,000 USD
In-kind contribution
Computer hardware and software from Microsoft
Staff / Technical expertise
Deloitte EA offers technical support in the implementation of program
Other, please specify
Leverage from private sector in event sponsorships, participation in Steering Committee- Kenya Commercial Bank Group, Dow, MasterCard Foundation are among committee members

Basic information
Time-frame: April 2015 - April 2019
USAID, MasterCard Foundation, Kenyatta University, Deloitte East Africa, Kenya Commercial Bank Group, Microsoft, Dow, Citi Group, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Contact information
United Nations