AFRICA — The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) in conjunction with the Citi Foundation have announced plans to award a total of US$400,000 to 42 young African social entrepreneurs.

According to a USADF statement, the entrepreneurs are developing businesses to drive social and community change in 22 sub-Saharan African countries. 

The statement further noted that all of the awardees are 2019 Mandela Washington Fellows under the U.S. Government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

“By pairing seed capital with technical assistance, USAID, USADF, and Citi Foundation provide young entrepreneurs with the tools needed to invest in their own communities.

Each winner of the competition will receive at least US$10,000 in seed capital to support the growth of his or her company – in sectors that range from agribusiness and health care to renewable energy and education,” the statement read in part.

USADF noted that by pairing seed capital with technical assistance the three partners were in essence providing young entrepreneurs with the tools needed to invest in their own communities.

“The goal of the public-private partnership is to increase the commercial know-how and access to seed capital of Africa’s next generation of business leaders and social entrepreneurs,” USADF said. 

USADF has for the past four years worked with the Citi Foundation in supporting investments that will allow the young business people to create jobs, train other youth, improve their communities, and create or expand markets by providing goods and services.

USADF also noted that it was grateful for USAID for agreeing to partner with it even as it seeks to achieve its  goal of catalyzing young African ingenuity through entrepreneurship.

Since 2014, USADF has awarded over US$5 million to more than 250 young leaders in over 30 countries.