Yale Programs Help Strengthen African Leaders, Businesses

December 10, 2014

Yale has identified leadership development as a key focus of the Africa Initiative and a way in which it can contribute to Africa’s growth story. The university has used its intellectual resources to provide training to several African organizations and seeks to continue helping build African leaders in the future. To that end, Yale has hosted conferences focused on thinking strategically about how to make an impact on the continent. Here is more on the Africa programs and conferences executed by Yale departments in fall 2014:

Seventeen Nigerian professionals participated in the 2014 Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI) Fellows Seminar, a leadership development conference for exceptional members of the NLI. The Office of International Affairs developed the conference, which was held on campus. Participants included Hadiza Bala Usman, founder of #BringBackOurGirls, a movement working for the rescue of more than 300 young girls abducted by extremists in northern Nigeria, and Audu Maikori, founder and CEO of Chocolate City, Africa’s biggest entertainment company. The group spent six days discussing Nigeria’s economic future, emotionally intelligent leadership, entrepreneurship, city building, and more with Yale professors, U.S. ambassadors, and representatives from the City of New Haven. At the end of the program, the NLI awarded participants Fellow status within the organization.

The Global Health Leadership Institute (GHLI) hosted the Strategic Thinking in Foreign Affairs Symposium. Sixteen delegates from the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs explored grand strategy, issues in governance, the future of China-Africa relations, business development, and more with Yale faculty, including GHLI Faculty Director Dr. Elizabeth Bradley. Leading practitioners also led interactive lectures and provided practical support. At the end of the Symposium, delegates presented original strategies to be implemented upon their return to Ethiopia.

Members of the Yale School of Management’s Black Business Alliance (BBA) organized the first Africa Business Practicum, a one-day workshop tackling real challenges faced by businesses in or seeking to enter Africa. Participants from Yale, the Wharton School, the MIT Sloan School of Management, and other top business schools collaborated on potential solutions and received feedback from practitioners like the Yale World Fellows. Students from Lagos Business School and the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business also participated via videoconference.

The United States and Africa Development Organization (USAADO) hosted the U.S. and Africa Business Conference at the MacMillan Center. The conference brought together policy makers, business leaders, scholars and members of civil society groups to explore opportunities for greater U.S.-Africa trade. Participants discussed existing barriers to economic interaction between the U.S. and Africa and what governments from both regions could do to promote shared prosperity between the U.S. and African countries. The conference was declared open by New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, and Christopher Udry, Henry J. Heinz ll Professor of Economics and Chair of the Council on African Studies, gave a keynote address on “Agriculture and Economic Growth: Opportunities for U.S. and African Businesses.”