This week’s most important headlines out of and about Africa.

In this week’s news, Bill Gates invests $5 billion into the African continent and a look into the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

Bill Gates to invest $5 billion into the African continent over the next 5 years

Bill Gates and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn

Bill Gates, the founder of American tech giant Microsoft,  will visit the African continent this month, taking his tour across multiple countries.

At the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in South Africa on July 17, Gates delivered a speech in which he said he wants to find innovative solutions to the problems that prevent people from making the most of their lives in developing countries.

“I believe, (as Nelson Mandela did), that progress is possible,” Gates said. “We can help people everywhere live healthier, more productive lives — if we make sure that innovation reaches everyone who needs it.”

He addressed the obstacles facing African youth and pledged to continue to invest in the continent. Past invited lecturers include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. The annual lecture series offers prominent leaders a platform to address social issues.

Gates encouraged breakthroughs to fulfill the continent’s potential. Focusing on education, governance, health, and agriculture, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation seeks to invest in youth. The organization strives to support African partners to resolve issues that do not support national development goals.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

Young African Leaders Initiative

The Mandela Washington Fellowship empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. The program was launched by the Obama administration in 2014 under the Young African Leaders Initiative.

The fellowship supports the ideas, businesses, and organizations of these African leaders through professional development opportunities, mentoring, networking, and seed funding in their home countries. Fellows are often offered a professional internship with American NGOs, private companies, and government offices.

Fellow demographics are between the ages of 25 and 35 who promote innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries.

The Young African Leaders Initiative, introduced by the Obama administration in 2010, brings 1000 African leaders from across the continent who are then hosted at 20 U.S. universities and colleges. The six-week program administers a training and mentoring curriculum focused on business, entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and public administration.

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