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"An opportunity for young people to discuss innovations that will change Africa"
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"An opportunity for young people to discuss innovations that will change Africa"

African youths converged in Lagos in October for the 4th Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA) conference to discuss how young people can influence sustainable change on the continent. Biodun Awosusi, 26, from Nigeria, reports.

The YALDA conference, billed as an opportunity for young people to discuss innovations that will change Africa, was held between 4th and 7th October 2012 at the Orchid Hotel in Lekki, Lagos.

It was the fourth edition of the conference organised by a youth-led pan-African organization based in Botswana.

Delegates came from about 20 African countries as well as Latvia. 

The highpoint of the conference was the Ideas Lab where delegates presented their ideas to panel experts. They received feedback on how to improve their design concepts and gained contacts with prospective investors and volunteers.

Deputy Secretary-General at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Mrs Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba; Former Nigerian Health Minister, Prof Adenike Grange; CEO of Total Health Trust, Dr Awosika, Political economist and politician, Prof Pat Utomi; Sahara Energy CEO, Tonye Cole; Founder of Nigeria Network of Non-Governmental Organizations (NNNGO), Mrs Yemisi Ransome Kuti; Ukwori Onuma (LEAP Africa) were some of the experts at the conference.

Stephen Oguntoyinbo (Young Journalists Academy), Biodun Awosusi (Penpreneurs), Olufunbi Falayi (Project 4), Omolade Adeleye (House of Cedar), Kunbi Sesewa, Seun Durojaiye (Vote Guard), Timi Olagunju (SANE), Mani Joseph Muya (USIS-A YALDA), Glory Basio Emmanuel (USIU-A Kenya), Aribisala Pelumi (Agricultural Revolution) and Sheila Siele were among participants who presented their ideas.

Harvard graduate and 2012 conference chairperson Kalaya Okereke asserted that the YALDA conference was intended for participants “not only to gain an understanding of the opportunities in Africa, but to empower them to lead visible, ground-breaking change on the continent”.

Sheilla Siele, a student of the United States International University-Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, said she was glad to participate in the conference. Siele expressed appreciation to the organizers and called on African youths, instead of moaning about challenges, to use the knowledge acquired and networks established to bring sustainable development to the continent .

The spokesperson for the Nigerian Youth Parliament, Hon. Omoluabi Adeyeye, said the conference was a worthwhile adventure, adding that YALDA 2012 ‘created a rare opportunity to learn from different people from different African countries.’

The event was sponsored by brands including First Bank, Petrolex, Muritala Muhammed Foundation, RwanAir, Lagos Business School, and LEAP Africa. Previous editions were held in Egypt, Gabon and Bostwana.

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About me:

I am a highly motivated young medical doctor, content developer, youth development expert and social entrepreneur and an alumnus of the inaugural Discovering Young Leaders Program (DYLP 2012) of Commonwealth Youth Programme-Africa. I was a task force member for the Youth Summary of the UNESCO EFA 2012 Report and a postgraduate student of the University of Liverpool, where I am studying International Management of Health Systems.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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