Lagos - No fewer than 2 000 Nigerians have applied for the US President Barack Obama flagship programme for promising young African leaders tagged: “Young African Leaders Initiative”.
The Cultural Affairs Officer, US Embassy, Bill Strassberger, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja.
The Obama administration created YALI in 2010 as a means of prioritising US government efforts to empower the next generation of African leadership.
Strassberger said that 25 per cent of the completed applications for the 2014 Washington Fellowship for YALI came from Nigerians, out of 8070 applications submitted as at January 10.
According to him, 35 000 applicants are still in the process of completing their applications.
He said that 500 selected YALI Fellows from Africa would travel to the U.S. in mid-2014 to participate in a six-week programme at a US university.
Strassberger said that out of the 500 selected YALI Fellows, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa were expected to contribute 150 youths with other African countries making up the numbers.
In 2010, three Nigerians – Bako Kantiok, Ruth Audu and Taiwo Adewole, were among the 115 young leaders from Africa that participated at the Obama’s young African leaders’ forum.
Obama declared during the forum that he believed “Africa’s future belongs to its young people.”
He challenged African youths to stand against non-democratic African leaders, work for change and bolster democracy on their continent.