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Young African Leaders Drive Opportunity and Food Security

Under President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, the U.S. Government is supporting young people across the African continent to spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security. This year, the initiative brought 500 Mandela Washington Fellows to the United States for academic coursework and leadership training that will give these bright young men and women the skills to lead their organizations, communities and countries toward a better future.

In support of Feed the Future’s goal to drive agriculture-led development and food security, the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) awarded 36 of these Fellows $25,000 entrepreneurship grants to expand or launch new ventures, many of which are creating jobs, providing training for youth and expanding affordable food supplies in the Fellows’ home countries.

Emmanuel Hamaro, who manages a pig farm in central Tanzania, is one of the recipients of a USADF entrepreneurship grant that he plans to use to help grow his region’s small-scale piggery industry. In addition to increasing pig production, Hamaro is increasing the number of permanent structures on his pig farm and investing in a drip irrigation system to cover five acres of intensive farming. He is also starting up an agriculture academy to train and mentor local youth in agribusiness and social responsibility.

In Mali, Mandela Fellow Amina Sidibe is driving a sustainable and healthy supply chain in the poultry market. In the capital city of Bamako where she grew up, she is using the USADF grant she received to expand her business, Chez La Fermiere, and help meet a growing local demand for eggs and chicken. As her hen farm grows in capacity – Sidibe is building enough hen houses for 15,000 chickens – her production is projected to increase three-fold, and she is positioned to expand the company’s staff by 10 people, creating more jobs for young people in the area who are seeking work. Relying on an extensive network of partners from smallholder farmers to veterinarians, retailers, household consumers, schools, hospitals and restaurants, Sidibe is building a solid business and distribution plan that will help stabilize and grow the local poultry market.

Ruka De-Liman is another Mandela Fellow in the poultry business. As the chief executive officer of Jamilullah Farm Enterprise in the Sagnarigu District of northern Ghana, where many young people are unemployed or underemployed, De-Liman has been operating her business for less than a year, initially working with a poultry capacity of about 200 guinea fowls. With the entrepreneurship grant she received from USADF, she is expanding her stock of live, mature birds, leading to expanded sales and a growing network of more than 50 producers. In addition to creating additional jobs in agribusiness for her peers, De-Liman is making nutritious poultry meat and quality eggs more widely available in the region.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The fellowship providesleadership training and professional development opportunities to extraordinary young Africans. Learn more about YALI and see profiles of other Fellows working in agriculture, business, and more.

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