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US President Barack Obama to launch leadership centre in Kenya

Wednesday July 30 2014

Josephine Kulea listens as President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the Young African Leaders Initiative summit in Washington, DC, on July 28, 2014. WHITE HOUSE PHOTO | PETE SOUZA

Josephine Kulea listens as President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the Young African Leaders Initiative summit in Washington, DC, on July 28, 2014. WHITE HOUSE PHOTO | PETE SOUZA 

KEVIN J.  KELLEY
By KEVIN J. KELLEY
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WASHINGTON, DC

The United States will establish a leadership centre in Kenya to train young East Africans for executive positions in business, government and civil society, President Barack Obama announced Monday.

The US president unveiled the initiative at the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) summit in Washington attended by 46 Kenyans and about 450 youngsters from other African countries.

Other regional leadership centres will also be opened in Senegal, Ghana and South Africa, Mr Obama said.

“Starting next year, young Africans can come to these centres to network and access the latest technology, and get training in management and entrepreneurship,” he said.

According to a statement from the White House, the centre in Kenya will offer “a robust training curriculum” developed by a public-private partnership involving Deloitte and a New York-based financial advisory firm.

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USAID FUNDING

Kenyatta University, the Kenya School of Government and Africa Nazarene University will also play roles in establishing the centre.

The US Agency for International Development (USAid) is providing a total of $38 million to establish the four regional centres, with additional funding from African companies and foundations, the White House said.

“The point of all of this is we believe in you,” Mr Obama told the YALI participants, who were chosen from all 49 sub-Saharan countries. “I believe in every one of you who are doing just extraordinary things.”

Young people aged 25-35, who were selected for YALI, received fellowships to enable them to study for six weeks at US universities.

The summit, which will include a discussion on Wednesday with First Lady Michelle Obama, caps the young Africans' experience in the US.