African Leadership Academy to Award "Innovation Prizes" to Honour Future African Leaders and the Communities Who Support Them

This “Nobel Prize for African Youth” Honours 14-19 Year Old Africans Who Have Solved a Pressing Community Problem; Award Includes a Scholarship to ALA, and in some cases Cash.

African Leadership Academy (ALA) today announced the launch of an exciting new initiative: the Africa Innovation Prize, The prize will be awarded to young African leaders between the ages of 14 and 19 who have created an innovative solution to a pressing problem in their community, have demonstrated passion for Africa, and who have academic promise.  The award will also be used to honour the communities who encourage and support these young leaders. The prize will initially be given to the most promising, innovative young leaders in Ghana and  South Africa, with the hope that it will become a pan-African prize in the future.

“Africa’s future rests in the hands of our young people.  This prize honours those young Africans who are taking that future into their own hands, demonstrating the kind of leadership in their youth that gives us hope for Africa’s prosperous and peaceful future,” said Fred Swaniker, the Ghanaian Founder and CEO of African Leadership Academy.  “Just as the Mohamed Ibrahim Prize or the Nobel Peace Prize honours mature leaders, this prize will discover and honour young leaders with similarly graoundbreaking impact at the very beginning of their leadership journey.”

Applicants will be judged on the impact and ingenuity of their solution to a pressing problem within an African community.  Additionally, they must show a track record of academic promise and a demonstrated passion for Africa.

“One of the most important factors in creating successful leaders is the support of the people around them.  So our goal is not only to encourage and honour young leaders themselves — but also to promote and honour the communities that nurtured these leaders,” Swaniker continued.  “We know that without these supportive environments there are potential leaders whose innovative spirit may never grow.”

“We at ALA wanted to launch this prize to recognize and honour the immense power that young people have to change the world. Had this prize existed two years ago, the young leaders at ALA today would have been prime candidates to win the prize.” Said ALA Dean Christopher Khaemba.

The inital prizes will be made possible by sponsors in each country. Submissions will be vetted by a panel of judges from ALA and from business and government in-country. The panel will choose a maximum of 25 final candidates per country.  These finalists will be invited to a Finalist Weekend toward the end of March 2010, where they will be asked to present their submissions to the judges. Final awards will be given in May 2010 in front of media and distinguished guests.

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