In July 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama announced the creation of four Regional Leadership Centers (RLCs), located in South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Senegal. The Maputo Center, which opened in October, is a branch of the South Africa Center, focusing on Lusophone participants.
These centers are part of the broader program under YALI to empower young people in Africa, to encourage transformational learning and enhanced leadership skills. YALI also includes the Mandela Washington Fellowship Exchange Program, which has so far sent 24 Mozambicans and 31 Angolans to programs in the United States.
Another part of the program is the YALI network – a virtual community with more than 200,000 members. Through the opening of the Regional Leadership Center in Maputo, the United States Government is expanding training opportunities for young people from Lusophone speaking countries.
This Center will afford hundreds of young leaders from Mozambique and Angola with new experiences; they will be interacting and exchanging ideas with professionals and academics and will be learning essential skills to succeed in the public, private and non-profit sectors.
Ambassador Pittman welcomed 50 participants from Angola and Mozambique. Also present at the opening were representatives of Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM), local partner Ideialab (Tatiana Pereira), and South African partner the University of South Africa (UNISA).
The regional leadership center in Maputo is housed at UEM and the program is implemented by UEM in partnership with a local business incubator, Ideialab. UEM’s Center for Gender Studies will administer the public management, civic leadership, and cross-cutting tracks, while Ideailab will administer the business development and entrepreneurship track..
The Center for Continuing Education at UEM will cover all logistics and administrative aspects of the program. The opening included the first cohort of 50 participants (30 from Mozambique and 20 from Angola). Sixteen are in the Business and Entrepreneurship track, seventeen in Public Management, and seventeen are in Civic Leadership. The participants are drawn from the private sector, civil society and the government. Their ages range from 21 to 35 years.