African Leadership Academy is very delighted to join the United Nations in recognizing the immense potential and celebrating the extraordinary achievements of young people around the world on International Youth Day, August 12, 2013.

International Youth Day (IYD), celebrated yearly on August 12, is a United Nations-designated day of observance established in 2000 to raise awareness of issues affecting young people around the world. It is also a day to recognize the efforts of the world’s youth in creating a global society, and aims to promote ways to engage them in being more actively involved in making positive contributions to their communities. The theme for International Youth Day 2013 is “Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward”

African Leadership Academy (ALA) is a leading pan-African institution that seeks to transform Africa by identifying, developing and connecting a powerful network of leaders who will work together to achieve extraordinary social impact on the continent. ALA believes that Africa will be developed by Africans, and in line with the theme for IYD 2013, promotes the retention of African talent in Africa, as well as the return of African talent to the continent from the diaspora.

In celebrating International Youth Day 2013, ALA focuses on the need to maximize the potential of African youth at home and abroad to contribute optimally to the development of the continent. Demographic studies show that Africa has the largest youth population in the world of over 200 million people, a figure which is expected to double by 2045. The UN Economic Commission for Africa estimates that by 2015, over one-fourth of the world’s workforce will be African; conversely the huge vacuum of opportunities for the African youth makes the gainful employment of this young workforce extremely doubtful. In spite of the fact that six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa, unemployment rates across the continent hover around 70%, and the World Bank estimates that about 60% of all unemployed Africans are between the ages of 15 and 24. It is clearly evident therefore, that Africa’s great challenge is how to effectively utilize its youth bulge to drive the continent’s development.

Over time, the allure of securing quality education and improved economic opportunities has led to a prolonged exodus of many young Africans from the continent, resulting in an erroneous belief that the best opportunities in life are outside Africa. However, the vast majority of the African youth reside in the continent, and engage in endless pursuits of economic opportunities. There is an urgent need for concerted efforts by governments, businesses, non-profits and all Africans to create an enabling environment for the African youth to gain access to the resources, skills and networks that will enable them to contribute effectively to African development.

Essay Competition

ALA is calling on all young Africans between the ages of 15-19 to participate in a month-long essay writing competition on the topic: “How can governments, businesses, non-profits, individuals and the youth collaborate to maximize Africa’s youth potential for the continent’s development and prosperity?”

Eligibility: young Africans aged 15 — 19 residing within and outside Africa

Duration: August 12, 2013 — September 27, 2013


·         Essays should focus on SPECIFIC practicable, implementable, measurable and scalable ideas that can be implemented effectively across the continent

·         Essays must be written in English, French or Portuguese languages

·         Essays must not exceed 1000 words, and should contain no more than five concrete ideas fitting the above criteria

·         Essays must be the original work of the writer, and should not have been published on any media prior to submission

·         Essays will be judged not only for the quality of ideas, but also for the quality of writing

·         Essays should be submitted through this link

·         Essays should be submitted on or before Friday September 27, 2013


·         Grand prize: Full scholarship worth US$4200 to attend the Global Scholars Program (GSP) – a unique international three-week entrepreneurial leadership summer camp) in July 2014 at the ALA campus in Johannesburg, South Africa. Also included will be an air ticket to South Africa and a winner’s plaque.

·         Ist Runner-Up: Full scholarship worth US$4200 to attend the 2014 Global Scholars Program (a unique international three-week entrepreneurial leadership summer camp­) at ALA, and a plaque.

·         2nd Runner-up: 50% scholarship worth US$2100 to attend the 2014 Global Scholars Program (a unique three-week entrepreneurial leadership summer camp­) at ALA, and a plaque.

·         Top ten essays: all top ten essays will be published on the website of African Leadership Academy, and the writers will receive certificates of commendation.

·         Additional prizes to be announced in due course.

Winners will be announced at African Leadership Academy on African Youth Day, 1st November 2013.


Phone: +27 11 699 3000 (ext 3087)


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