africa pattern

While past Leaders Africa programs have begun with a multi-day convening in the region with 200 Leaders from across the continent and then continued online for one year, this year’s program has been adapted given the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on travel, gathering limits, and more. In light of those constraints and to prioritize the safety of our program participants, supporters, and staff, the 2021 Leaders Africa program will be a six-month, non-residential, virtual program for approximately 35 emerging leaders from across the continent.

This year’s program will focus on honing leadership skills, building deep relationships with fellow leaders, and exploring how to drive, scale, and make sustainable change. Participants will discuss a wide variety of regionally-focused and global issues with thought leaders in politics, civil society, and the private sector from across Africa and the Obama Foundation’s global network. Upon graduation, this group of Leaders will join a pan-African community of like-minded changemakers and will become part of a lifelong Obama Foundation community with access to a deep network of support.

The virtual Leaders Africa program seeks to identify exceptional leaders in government, civil society, and the private sector who have a clear issue-focus and who can illustrate the impact of their work. Our objective is to build a network of leaders with integrity, who drive positive, innovative change in their communities, throughout Africa, and across the globe.

The program will run from October 2021 through April 2022, with a break from mid-December to mid-January. Leaders will participate in the following core elements of the program:

Twice Monthly Virtual Video Calls
These live virtual sessions will be the primary form of collective engagement. Connections two times monthly will offer a mix of new content (conversations with experts, introductions to leadership frameworks, skill-building, etc.) and interactive, small-group work in breakout rooms.

Monthly Community Groups
Leaders will work in peer learning groups that encourage deeper relationship-building and peer-learning, and offer an opportunity to reflect on or discuss open questions from the group sessions.

Individualized Leadership Coaching
Leaders will be paired with an executive coach to help them gain self-awareness, clarify goals, brainstorm ideas, achieve their development objectives, and unlock their potential.

End of Program Project Leaders will collaborate to organize collective service projects. Project guidelines and expected outcomes will be shared with participants during the program launch to ensure Leaders will have ample time to organize, brainstorm, and implement their initiatives at the latter end of the six months or immediately after the program.

In addition to the required elements, Leaders will have the opportunity to participate in a range of supplementary programming, including virtual Obama Foundation events, virtual cultural events, and virtual one-on-one conversations with experienced leaders in the global Obama Foundation network.


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Program year concludes with acts of service across the continent

To mark the close of their program year, Obama Leaders from across the African continent volunteered to design and implement collaborative service projects that positively impacted their local communities. Learn more about the projects +

  • The Gambia
  • Benin
  • Madagascar
  • Zimbabwe
  • Mauritius
  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • Namibia
  • Cote d'Ivoire
  • Zambia
  • Uganda
  • Madagascar

africa pattern


See the latest updates from the Leaders: Africa program.

Returning Leaders

Part of the theory of change of the Obama Foundation is that our Leaders continue to be force multipliers in their communities and on the continent long after their program year concludes. That’s why we’re pleased to welcome back 15 members of the 2018 class to serve as speakers, facilitators, and mentors for the new class. Meet a few of them below!

King Gyan is a star Ghanaian footballer, but we know him as a changemaker who’s inspiring the next generation through sport. Take a peek at King's day-to-day work at the Right to Dream Academy.

Nichole Yembra is inspiring, empowering, and connecting the future of women-led tech in Africa. See how she's doing it.

"Effective leadership isn't about telling others what to do. It takes emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, and empathy."—Veda Sunassee writes about his experience at the convening. Read the full blog +

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Sign up to donate $10/month to the Obama Foundation and get a pair of custom stickers featuring our Leaders: Africa design. Keep one for yourself and give one to someone who is making their community a better place!

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