African youth converged in Lagos 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.
The annual conference held between 4th and 7th October 2012 at the Orchid Hotel in Lekki, Lagos. It was sponsored by notable brands including Connecting cultures, First Bank, Petrolex, Muritala Muhammed Foundation, RwanAir, Lagos Business School, and LEAP Africa. Previous editions held in Egypt, Gabon and Bostwana. There were delegates from about 20 African countries; and Latvia.
The highpoint of the conference was the Ideas lab where delegates presented their ideas to expert panels and other delegates. They received feedbacks on how to improve the ideas, and established networks 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 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 was glad to participate in the conference. She expressed appreciation to the organizers and called on African youth to use the knowledge acquired and networks established during the conference to bring sustainable development to the continent instead of moaning about her challenges.
The spokesperson for the Nigerian Youth Parliament, Hon. Omoluabi Adeyeye believes the conference was a worthwhile adventure. He said that YALDA 2012 ‘created a rare opportunity to learn from different people from different African countries.’ He added that he learnt the process of creating ideas that can initiate sustainable change not just in Nigeria but through out the continent. He expressed his gratitude to organizers and distinguished panelists
YALDA is a youth-led pan-african organization based in Botswana.