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Programs and Events

The DRC's Young African Leaders

June 22, 2012
Young African Leaders excited to be in Washington, DC and enjoying the summit. (state Dept. Images)

Young African Leaders excited to be in Washington, DC and enjoying the summit. (state Dept. Images)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with the Young African leaders in Washington, DC. (State Dept. Images)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with the Young African leaders in Washington, DC. (State Dept. Images)

On June 14, 2012, two participants from the Democratic Republic of Congo - Francois-Xavier Kabemba and Patricia Nzolantima Lufinama - attended the kickoff of the Young African Leaders summit, which aims to foster investment, social responsibility, and innovation on the continent. This program brought 63 young African innovators (20-35 years old) to the United States for a 3-week professional development exchange.  The first part of the program was a conference in Washington, DC, which focused on entrepreneurship and featured high-level speakers from the U.S. Government, the private sector, and NGOs.

One of the Congolese representatives, Patricia Nzolantima Lufinama, wrote Embassy Kinshasa to give her first impressions of Washington, DC and of the Young African Leaders conference: “This summit allows us to see other perspectives for Africa. A new way of presenting a positive Africa: build, plan, promote and strengthen a new image of contemporary Africa strong, confident, independent, bold and responsible. This is the new Africa that speaks for itself, which identify and present effective solutions to its problems.”

After the kickoff summit, the Young African Leaders were each paired with a U.S. business leader in a second American city, allowing the visitors to see another side of the country, as well as gain valuable insight into U.S. business culture. As Ms. Nzolantima writes, “This network will provide an opportunity for Africans and friends of Africa to build on African values, the creation and stimulation of values ... and the training and entrepreneurship as the most viable solution for making Africa a land of freedom, opportunity and prosperity.”