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Where are Africa’s young leaders? At the AfDB Annual Meetings


On Monday, May 25 in Abidjan, Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), convened African leaders past and present to provoke debate on a vision for the Continent in 50 years’ time. 

Africa’s best and brightest, including Jean Guy Afrika, Zeinab Camara, Isaac Kwaku Fokou, Ashish Thakkar and Estelle Youssouffa, challenged established leaders Abdourahmane Cissé, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Acha Leke and Thierry Zomahoun.

The Africa of today is largely led by a generation that has been in power for a long time.  Yet there is a new generation of proven leaders ready to take on the daunting task of shaping Africa’s future. These leaders are also the ones inspiring the youth of today and the generation that will assume leadership tomorrow.

Keynote speaker Acha Leke remarked, “To date, we have not seen a formal platform to bring generations together such as this. I hope to be at the 50th intergenerational dialogue, listening to the youth of tomorrow.”

Participants agreed that today’s youth are already leaders in their own right. They were challenged to tackle topics including entrepreneurship and youth unemployment, the role of women in business and investment, youth and scientific transformation and possibilities for leveraging the public sector. 

The event, titled, “African Leadership: a Generational Dialogue,” was held during the AfDB Annual Meetings in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Counting among the over 200 participants were Ministers past and present, leaders from industry and civil society and an extensive network of youth leaders including the AfDB’s own Young Professionals. The event also saw the launch of the Emerging Leaders Programme (ELP), an initiative that seeks to provide a ‘legacy’ of developing leaders across the continent for the next generation. The ELP will be run by Common Purpose, a UK-based leadership facility, in association with Club of Madrid, which is involved in the promotion of democracy.


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