This year’s event at the Gallup Building in Washington DC will focus on new efforts and best practices to address the education and skills gaps in the region by African-created institutions of higher learning, and African companies as well as highlight the current U.S. Government Africa education programs which also are helping Africa’s youth.
Each year, the FEEEDS Advocacy Initiative, the prestigious GALLUP World Poll, along with media partner AllAfrica, bring together focal speaker experts to address some of the key development issues of the region, along with sharing GALLUP World Poll's renown polling data on the event’s theme.
“New Approaches to Africa’s Education,” was chosen as this year’s forum theme given that the African continent will be home to 2.4 billion people by 2050 of which two-thirds will be people under the age of 25.” The forum chose to spotlight two leading African institutions in the education field who are doing it right, the African Leadership Academy (ALA) and Ashesi University; a cutting edge African-owned technology company focused on software and incubator development, Venture Garden Group (VGG); and the range of U.S. Government Africa education programs, including YALI, which both educate and help train Africa’s next generation.
GALLUP World Poll’s Managing Partner Jon Clifton and co-host of the event, said of this year’s topic that “Africa is counting on its next generation of leaders to lift the entire continent into prosperity. For them to do that, education comes first, and our polling provides data on both the positives and the challenges that remain.”
Adding to this sentiment Ambassador Sanders, CEO of FEEEDS, a former senior United States diplomat and the other co-host of the event, commented that “the wealth of creativity, and drive by Africa’s youth is so impressive to see; they are the good news story of the region. It is also equally important to share role model success stories of Africa-created institutions like ALA and Ashesi; companies like VGG; as well as to highlight the range of U.S. Government education programs for US audiences, particularly the Africa Diaspora.”
Sanders also commended the five-year partnership with GALLUP World Poll and AllAfrica to put on these key Africa issues forums each year.
Focal speaker, Faith Abiodun, Director of Programs and Partnerships for the South Africa-based ALA remarked that “Nothing is more important today for Africa than for its young people to be awakened to the many opportunities through which they can help to transform the quality and quantity of education on the Continent. This enables them to learn about themselves and their societies, and that what ALA does."
Focal speaker, Dr. Abdul Mahdi, Dean of Students and Community Affairs at Ghana’s Ashesi University, went on to add that “his school’s unique approach to education lays great emphasis on experiential and practitioner opportunities with its students as the major catalysts for manpower growth in Africa.”
The private sector has a role to play too, commented VGG focal speaker Nichole Yembra. “We also all know it is about the synergy between education and the practical world of job creation, entrepreneurship, and training opportunities, particularly taking advantage of technology,” said Ms. Yembra, VGG’s Chief Financial Officer. “In our tech world, we’ve applied the ancient ‘it takes a village African proverb,’ and updated it to reflect today’s reality of ‘it takes an interconnected ecosystem’ to grow a company, inspire an entrepreneur, nurture innovative ideas, and uplift brilliant women and girls.”
“The U.S. Government’s African education initiatives, including YALI, help support these efforts in various ways,” noted the State Department’s Africa Director of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tom Genton. “Currently Africa is the youngest region in the world with 70 percent of its population under 25 now. Thus, we need to ensure African youth are listened to, invested in, and are more confident about their future,” Genton concluded. African Ambassadors representing the countries where many of the students who attend ALA, Ashesi hail, or are supported by VGG have been invited to attend the forum, and will be honored as special guests during the event.
About the co-hosts, partners and focal speaker institutions:
FEEEDS® is an acronym that encompasses some of the main global themes of today--Food Security, Education, Environment-Energy, Economics, Democracy-Development and Self-help. It mostly works in Africa, with Africa Diaspora, on Africa education issues and with Africa small businesses. It holds a number of advisory positions to several Diaspora and U.S. businesses looking at strategies to address economic development issues in the region. @rrsafrica
Gallup World Poll is one of the world's leading data, research, and polling private sector firms in the world. It provides data-driven information based on its field research along with publishing tracking and public opinion surveys. It is considered one of the world’s leaders in transparent data research and polling. @GALLUP
AllAfrica is a prime source of information about Africa for global 'influentials' - decision makers, business and financial leaders, researchers, entrepreneurs and students. Distribution includes popular web site allafrica.com as well as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (where the monthly reach for @allafrica.com exceeds 15 million). AllAfrica's multi-channel platform, including the popular web site allAfrica.com, is the only independent, comprehensive pan-African news source - of, by and about Africa - with unrivaled reach and reputation.
African Leadership Academy (ALA) is located just outside Johannesburg, South Africa, in suburb of Honeydew. It is an Africa-created, pan-Africa focused boarding school, at the middle school level, whose new approach focused on entrepreneurial thinking as well as entrepreneurship itself, with a particularly emphasis in ensuring that its pan-Africa and Diaspora students move on to front line prestigious tertiary institutions. @ALAcademy
Ashesi University is located in Accra Ghana and it is a student-centered tertiary institution whose goal is to ensure that its graduates are the best, brightest and most talented to contribute to the growth and development of the Africa region. It is an Africa-created university with stresses a focus on both STEM and activism in the community and the development aspirations of the countries from which its students hail. @ashesi
Venture Garden Group (VGG) is located in Lagos, Nigeria, but works in a number of African countries. It is a cutting-edge information technology company, which develops proprietary systems for a number of key development sectors on the Continent from aviation, education, financial services/cashless platforms, and the power sectors. It is an innovation hub for training, incubation and young entrepreneurs, and its GreenHouse division works on development and social sector issues.
State Department Africa Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs is part of the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs and is responsible for both executing, managing, and creating a range of programs in the field that assist with building mutual understanding between Africa and the United States in areas from educational opportunities and cultural exchanges to initiatives focused on entrepreneurship and media training. It also manages the public affairs issues of the Africa Bureau.