Young women leaders empowered to spur innovation in Africa


The African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has inaugurated a five-day capacity building workshop for 40 young women leaders in Africa under the  African Young Women Leaders (AfYWL) Fellowship Programme.

The Programme seeks to empower a new generation of young African women leaders and experts to serve Africa and the world in designing and implementing development programmes in the context of the SDGs and Agenda 2063.

The event which commenced on 28th March 2022 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia aims to invest in global women leadership, promote African expertise and build an Africa-wide network of outstanding young women professionals to spur innovation, South-South cooperation, and development exchange.

Addressing the Fellows via zoom, the Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, UNDP, Ahunna Eziakonwa, noted that the participants represent less than 1 per cent of the 5,000 applications received for the cohort, following a highly competitive process.

“This Fellowship Programme was born out of my stubborn hope and optimism to harness and realize the potential of a new generation of young African women leaders to serve Africa and the world, as a pathway for achieving sustainable development.

The Fellowship Programme is also a clear recognition that Africa is the world’s youngest continent. Over 70 per cent of the population in Africa is under the age of 30.

These young people are constantly innovating, aspiring, incubating and challenging the traditional development norms. Yet, the net population of young people is unable to fully actualize their potential due to underemployment,” she stated.

Stressing that, the Fellowship Programme will go a long way to serve as a catalyst for deepening the ecosystem for youth-led development in Africa.

In her good well message, Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa, Deputy Chairperson also averred that the vision of the program was to enhance the engagement spaces of young African women, to place them on a sturdy ladder that they can climb with relative ease.

“AUC wants to unlock opportunities for women and youth, in particular, so you can take up the space that you must in order to advance not only women’s development but Africa’s as well.

Investing in women is not a vanity project for the Commission, it is urgent and important, and it leads to positive development outcomes for our beloved continent.

The 1st cohort in 2019 was among our earliest beneficiaries of the 1 Million by 2021 initiative, you follow in their impressive footsteps and become beneficiaries of two AUC initiatives; the first is the 1 Million Next Level Initiative, which succeeds 1 Million by 2021 and the second is the AU Women and Youth Financial and Economic Inclusion Initiative (WYFEI 2030).

These initiatives provide vision, platform, and the impetus for the acceleration of an initiative originating from the Commission but I envision it will be led by us all.” she explained.

Expected outcomes:
It is expected that at the end programme; a) An induction process that affords the fellows a profitable learning experience through the AUC and UNDP.

• The fellows to gain a deeper understanding of the AUC and UNDP, including the strategic elements of the Agenda 2063, Agenda 2030, UNDP’s Strategic Plan 2022 – 2025, and other relevant strategic visions of the two organizations.

• A clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the fellowship to be able to take on their roles in the different duty stations/offices.

• A virtual meet and greet with the host offices and supervisors.

• A generation of young African women equipped with the tools and skills that empower them to become global leaders.

• Physical tour of the AUC and courtesy visits with the AUC Chairperson, AU Youth Envoy, and other principals.


Source: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/

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