Mandela Washington Fellowship Empowering Africa’s Future Leaders


By: Kadijah Bokum

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is an initiative of the United States government that aims to empower young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking opportunities. The program is designed to provide young leaders with the skills, networks, and resources they need to drive economic growth and development in their communities and countries.

Launched in 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship has provided over 4,400 young African leaders with the opportunity to participate in a six-week leadership training program at a US university or college. Fellows are selected through a competitive application process that evaluates their leadership potential, professional achievements, and commitment to positively impacting their communities.

During the program, fellows participate in academic coursework on business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management. They also attend leadership training workshops, meet with US government officials, and network with American leaders in business, government, and civil society.

The fellowship has significantly impacted the African continent, with many alumni launching successful businesses, non-profit organizations, and social enterprises. For example, one fellow from The Gambia, Kujeh Kah, launched a community-based organization that empowers young women to be independent by learning vocational skills, while another fellow, Taitanzania from Tanzania, founded a Social enterprise that raises awareness through storytelling. 

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a powerful example of how investing in young leaders can drive economic growth and development, promote good governance, and build stronger communities. By providing young African leaders with the skills, networks, and resources they need to succeed, we can help create a brighter future for Africa and the world. Kadijah Bokum


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