By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh
Placed under the high patronage of the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, and the President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, the French-African Foundation will bring together the new class for a week in France in June 2023 and then a week in Rwanda for high-level meetings, interactive training and privileged moments of professional and personal exchanges with leading Franco-African and international personalities from the political, economic, cultural, sports and associative spheres.
Young African leaders aged between 28 and 40 years in 2023 have also been chosen based on competitive performance in various areas and who have a commitment to African development. These young professionals have shown inclusive leadership that impacts the community, country or region, the display of a privileged relationship with France and Africa.
This year, more than 2,000 young professionals from 53 African countries and France applied for the annual French-African Foundation’s Young Leaders programme, which aims to shine a light on outstanding individuals who are bridging the gap between the two regions. After several selection stages and hundreds of auditions conducted by an independent jury, 30 young leaders were selected for their commitment to boosting Africa-France relations.
“The 30 Young Leaders innovate daily in their activities and redraw the contours of the link between France and Africa by helping it flourish in all areas. Taking into account the environmental, social, political and economic challenges shared by the two shores of the Mediterranean, the foundation is counting on these young people to help provide solutions, embody the relationship and develop it further. As a link between Africa and France, Marseille is the ideal city to launch this new class!” – quote from Nachouat Meghouar, CEO of the French African Foundation.
Quotes from three Young Leaders: “Today, thanks to digital innovation, women have the opportunity to emancipate themselves and develop new skills, whether they are in Los Angeles or in a remote region of Cameroon. This desire for equality but also for economic and social justice allows us to find common and sustainable solutions. This is what I wish to promote for France, Cameroon and the African continent,” Nelly Kambiwa, Cameroonian, CSR Director Sopra Banking.
“The future of cinema and audiovisual creation is in Africa! The African continent is full of talent and unique stories. Within the CANAL+ Group, I am very proud to support pan-African producers, actors, scriptwriters, directors and technicians in the creation of their television series. Ambitious dramas, shot in the four corners of the continent, are thus offered, under the CANAL+ Original label, to millions of viewers in Africa, France and throughout the world. What a pleasure to participate in the promotion of African cultural excellence!” Anthony Koka, Franco-Congolese, Fiction Programme Advisor at CANAL+International
“I am Franco-Algerian, and I want to be a solution for my two countries, Algeria and France, in their diplomatic relations. I think it is time to look forward and draw a common future for our children. And I hope to help future generations by giving millions of French and African children a glimpse of the challenges of digital technology and, more particularly, of artificial intelligence through the projects we are carrying out with the start-up Evolukid, which I created seven years ago. These are powerful tools for imagining the world and also for meeting the technical needs of many public and private players.” Morad Attik, co-founder of the start-up Evolukid and founder of the Kesk’AI programme.
From war-torn Khartoum, Maha Dahawi, a doctoral student in genetics and Young Leader 2023 spoke out to express her support for the Sudanese people who are suffering from the war and the abuses carried out by the militias. In a poignant testimony, she called for hope in order to rebuild her divided country with her peers and shared her joy at joining the Young Leaders programme.
As part of their giving back to society, and in the interest of contributing to the development of this great continent, young leaders identified different areas of interest under the broad theme of sustainable development in which they carried out activities, including development-oriented projects and research to catalyze the development of the continent of Africa.
It also involves playing useful roles in the sustainable growth and development of their societies by applying their skills, technical know-how, knowledge and experience to decipher things that may not be working properly in order to innovate ways for creating change.
Double French and Rwandan patronage: After Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo in 2019 and Senegal’s President Macky Sall in 2021, this year’s French-African Foundation Young Leaders programme is under the dual patronage of Rwandan President Paul Kagame and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Rwanda Development Board Director General, Clare Akamanzi, welcomed the new promotion to Rwanda, a privileged destination for tourism and international investments, thanks to the gains in stability under the leadership of President Paul Kagame.
The French-African Foundation, an association created in 2019, aims to contribute to the emergence of a new generation of African and French leaders capable, through their values and means of action, of meeting the economic, social and political challenges of the time. It further aims at identifying, bringing together and promoting high potential in strengthening African and French relations.
The 2021 edition was placed under the high patronage of Mr Macron and the high patronage of the Senegalese President, Mr Macky Sall, being the chief host of the second edition took place.