Earlier today, young African leaders and great minds united on twitter via hashtag #YALICHAT to voice out their concerns, worries and possible solutions to the problems facing the growth and success of the young African. It was a no-holds barred discussion and questions on issues ranging from human rights, national resources, education, foreign aid, corruption, power.
The chat which started officially by 1pm was quite motivative, illuminating and inspiring; many embraced this yet another call for change and growth, while some others were indifferent, wondering the difference between this programme and others like it that have come and gone without major impact (critics and fence sitters are always welcome in such discussions).
There were blames on the government, the parents, the old leaders, the old ways, there was more on corruption and money laundering. There were those who argued that change needed to come from the mind. Many spoke from the heart, while a few others mentioned that talk was cheap and the real deal was action. I for one think so too. Its very easy to talk and tweet and say many things, yet how many will be able to drink at that table of change with the consequences in mind when called upon? But the truth is that many believe there is hope, that change will come, that the days will be better, and for me, this is enough, this is hope, without hope, we die.
The majority believed the youth were not being given the chance to make decisions regarding their own future, decisions which end up not favoring them. That the African leaders’ inability to fight corruption and punish embezzlement and money laundering tarries the growth of the ordinary youth as these resources and funds are swooned into foreign banks and other foreign exorbitance, while back home the government laments for lack of fund to establish basic amenities and better life, then subsequently unleashing its usual begging bowl and goes a’borrowing.
The #YALICHAT and YALI programme i truly welcome because it casts a certain light of hope in my mind and that of many young African leaders once again that perhaps, the future of Africa and Nigeria will be brighter than it is now. I do not want to get started with the issues on ground but seeing the tweets, with reach of almost 800,000 and impact of close to 3 million, i am convinced that there is a future for the young African leader because, their voice demanding for change is being heard by the world.
The #YALICHAT was hosted by Rick Stengel and Macon Phillips of the United States department and stems from an Obama Administration Initiative (Young African Leaders Initiative) YALI, his signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. Nearly one in three Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and approximately 60 percent of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35.
The POTUS launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa. If you want to see what you missed, checkout #YALICHAT on twitter.