Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

By Godfrey Olukya     14-12-2016    

The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) in partnership with CITI Foundation has announced awards of $200,000 in grant funding to 20 young, East African social entrepreneurs developing businesses for social and community change, in with Uganda getting nine slots, Kenya five, Rwanda three, DR Congo two and Central Africa Republic one.

According to a joint statement by US Africa development fund and CITi foundation, as part of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress global approach to prepare urban youth to thrive in today’s economy, each Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) winner will receive $10,000 in seed capital grants to strengthen systems to support the growth of their companies – ranging from agribusiness, clean water and sanitation, financial education and lending services, and education. 

The goal of the USADF & CITI Foundation YALI partnership is to increase business know-how and access to seed capital by Africa’s next generation of business leaders and social entrepreneurs. By investing in small grant funds and intensive technical assistance, Young African Leaders will in turn create jobs, train other youth, impact their communities and create or expand markets by providing goods and services.

As graduates of the East African YALI Regional Leadership Center (RLC), these young people have all demonstrated leadership in business, the ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups, and are strong communicators actively engaged in their communities. They are the future leaders committed to catalyzing change in their countries and Africa as a whole.

‘’We are proud to partner with UASDF and invest in youth through this program to help enable economic resilience and long-term competitiveness in East Africa,’’ said Karim Seifeddine, Head of Public Affairs, Citi. ‘’We continue to support programs that catalyze economic growth and provide solid economic opportunities to African youth.’’

 Each USADF & CITI Foundation social entrepreneur gains operational knowledge in funds accountability and reporting, over the 6 month to one year grant period during which funds are disbursed, and have access to 1-on-1 business advice and mentoring, all tangible skills to help them grow their ventures. For example, two YALI RLC winners, Yvette Ishimwe of IRIBA Clean Water Delivery Ltd in Rwanda and Francis Xaiver Asiimwe of Kaaro Health Finance Limited illustrate how young people are setting the standard for businesses catalyzing for good.

Through IRIBA, Yvette is ensuring the sustainability, ease and affordability of clean water for drinking and household use to people in the most remote communities of Rwanda, who have little to no access to water, particularly clean water. They envision an Africa where every person has easy access to reliable and safe water for drinking and household activities. Today, IRIBA is serving 100 families who were not able to get access to affordable clean and drinkable water, employing 20 young people, and reversing a trend of young children in the neighborhood who would spend mornings collecting water from long distances – no longer being late or miss classes due to the time they used to spend in water collection centers. Yvette said, “Investing in young African entrepreneurs like myself is transformative because it enables us to create real solutions that are more relevant to our community problems. And it equips Africa with more empowered people who are ready to tackle its challenges, use effectively its available resources and opportunities; and hence a brighter future for our continent.”

And Francis Xaiver Asiimwe of Kaaro Health Finance Limited is working for quality health care for all. Francis believes rural healthcare entrepreneurship is possible, profitable and low-risk, and Kaaro Health Finance Limited (KHF) has successfully financed the establishment of 4 new health facilities, expanded an additional 7 free-standing facilities and lease high-quality secondary care equipment to the most vulnerable. KHF’s product are designed to eliminate energy and finance access issues by providing tailor-made, flexible lease-to-own medical and renewable energy equipment financing to private healthcare entrepreneurs who are already operating or intending to expand into these underserved areas.

With today’s award, KHF will finance an existing acute need for pregnancy-related diagnostic imaging equipment in 4 newly established private for profit and 2 existing private nonprofit clinics in Panyangara sub-county, Kotido district. 3 of these health facilities will also each be financed to acquire a 2.2 kW solar power kit. In total, they expect these 6 facilities will treat 1,800 pregnant women in the first year alone.

The USADF & CITI Foundation’s goal is to catalyze young African’s ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit to launch and expand their social enterprises so every African may be a part of Africa’s growth story. Since 2014, USADF has awarded over $3 million to young leaders in 26 countries and 10 sectors.  In collaboration with the CITI Foundation, USADF will award up to 28 business plan competition winners in 2016 with $450,000 in seed capital, mentoring and business support.



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