The Hub at the Young Leaders Forum

From November 14-17, The Hub was invited by Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) to take part in the Young Leaders Forum, hosted by Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The Forum is a platform for youth from East African Community Countries to learn, network and share experiences.

When OSIEA put out the call for applications for youth to attend the Forum, they received 2,000 applications with only 100 spots available. As representatives of Lesotho under OSISA, we felt extremely privileged to be in the presence of 100 + brilliant young leaders, thinkers, inventors and change makers.

The Forum had an incredible list of featured speakers. Some of them include:

Hon. Anthony Mavunde, Deputy Minister of Labour, Employment and Youth of Tanzania. His ministry has recently signed an MoU to set aside land specifically for youth. These areas will be known as ‘Youth Special Economic Zone for Economic Activities’.

Gwamaka Kifukwe, who currently works with the Institute of African Leadership for Sustainable Development (Uongozi Institute), a public institution whose mission is to equip and inspire current and future African leaders in public, private, and civic society to live up to their individual and collective potential and deliver sustainable solutions to the challenges facing Africa.

Mr. Kifukwe’s session was on the role of young people and the Africa we want. The Africa we want has been best described by Agenda 2063 of the African Union, a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. It builds on and seeks to accelerate the implementation of continental initiatives for growth and development. Among its seven aspirations, the framework envisions Africa whose development is people driven, driven by the potential offered by people, especially its women and youth. Over 60% of the 1.3 billion African population being youth below 30 years old, questions remain; is the continent doing enough to harness such a “demographic dividend?”? Do African governments equip its youth to address current and impeding challenges? What kind of investment is Africa making on its youth population? Is it enough?

Adebola Williams is a Nigerian media entrepreneur, journalist, and political activist and motivational speaker. Williams is also the co-founder of media group, RED and CEO of its companies Red Media Africa and StateCraft Inc. He recently spoke in the closing session themed “Collective Power” at the Obama Foundation Summit and earned a standing ovation from the crowd, including Barack Obama after his speech. Follow this link for best moments from his speech at the Obama Foundation Summit on CNN’s website:

Edwin Bruno, CEO of SMART CODES. He is an award winning software engineer and entrepreneur with profound passion in providing 360 digital services. He is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Smart Codes (T) Limited, a digital agency based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania that is behind the ground-breaking digital newsstand app, M-Paper, and that has a turnover of $350,000, employs 29 full time employees and 15 contract employees. Edwin was recently recognized by Forbes Africa as a billionaire in the making and will likely appear in the cover of Forbes Africa, 20 years from now!

We also got to take part in a capacity building workshop on organizational development with Christine Njurai from Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa. This was particularly useful as The Hub is continuously seeking further funding for our projects.

The Hub will share the knowledge gained at the Young Leaders Forum with our friends and partners in Lesotho. We are grateful for the opportunity we had to meet and network with the young leaders, and look forward to turning the lessons learned into tangible action.

Photos from the Young Leaders Forum: