YALI RLC East Africa and KCB Partner

Memorandum of Understanding with KCB & YALI RLC. (photo credit: Amos Rono)

KCB Invests in the Next Generation of Young Leaders

by U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec

Kenya Commercial Bank CEO, Mr. Joshua Oigara, Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here today as we celebrate and welcome the partnership between the Young African Leadership Initiative and Kenya Commercial Bank. Today, through this pledge of support to the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa, KCB is investing in the next generation of young leaders. And in doing so, KCB is committing to not only the future of Kenya, but to all 14 of the countries our fellows hail from in East and Central Africa and, certainly, the entire continent.

President Obama launched YALI to support young African leaders with opportunities to flourish and develop their skills. When the President visited

the RLC last July, he remarked, “[YALI] is one of my labors of love here in Africa…Seeing the incredible contributions that young leaders are making

in so many countries, we thought let’s bring them together and give them opportunities to learn from each other… so that they can…accomplish remarkable things.”

During President Obama’s visit, KCB joined the Kenyan government in pledging major new support to the youth in Kenya and across Africa. This is because, like President Obama, KCB and others of you in the private sector know that investing in young leaders now will pay dividends for generations to come.

In March of this year, I was pleased to be part of the launch of KCB’s new youth program, which marked the fulfillment of KCB’s commitment during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. In fact, KCB exceeded its original commitment with an expanded – and extraordinary – pledge of KSH 50 billion over five next years.

And I am proud to announce the U.S. Government, through USAID, is directly partnering with KCB on multiple youth initiatives, including the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa. KCB’s $1 million commitment will help YALI fellows access additional valuable resources, from business development training to networking and career placement resources. The partnership will also support the Center’s alumni-transformation fund for community projects and give alumni access to credit, so young leaders can take back their Center experience and lead projects in their communities.

From its inception, the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa has recognized the importance of partnerships to promote innovation and creativity in communities across Africa. The Center seeks to help build networks by connecting exceptional young people with leaders in industry, academia, and civil society. And the Center also works to connect young leaders to one another – our remarkable RLC participants come from countries across East and Central Africa. When they come to the RLC, they learn from each other and share their unique leadership experiences.

In fact, the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa would not have been possible were it not for strong partnerships between USAID, the MasterCard Foundation, Deloitte, Kenyatta University, and many others. Today, we welcome KCB as an esteemed partner to the RLC. Your pledge of support represents the biggest single contribution received since the Center’s inauguration last year.

I salute your vision and commitment to the leaders of tomorrow.

The RLC thrives due to visionary partners like you.

As President Obama also said during his visit last year, “Through our Young African Leaders Initiative, we are empowering and connecting young people from across the continent who are filled with energy and optimism and idealism, and are going to take Africa to new heights.”

Congratulations again to both KCB and the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa on formalizing this important partnership and committing to the role young Africans are playing into strengthen democratic institutions, spur economic growth, and enhance peace and security across this continent. Indeed, together we are helping to take Africa to new heights.

Pamoja tusonge mbele.

Asanteni sana.