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Leaders Africa

The Obama Foundation Leaders Africa program seeks to build a growing network of innovative and values-based changemakers who will drive positive change in their communities, the continent, and the world.

A woman with a deep skin tone holds a microphone and speaks to an unseen audience. She is smiling and has short black locs. In the background, a patterned sign reads, "Leader: Africa."


During the Obamas’ tenure in the White House, they traveled across the African continent and witnessed incredible stories of young African leaders carrying the baton for change. Since then, they’ve formed partnerships to expand opportunities and create new connections for passionate leaders, beginning with the inaugural Leaders Africa program in 2018.

Leaders Africa is a six-month, non-residential, virtual leadership journey for 35 emerging leaders from across the continent focused on exploring values-based leadership skills and building deep relationships with fellow cohort members.

The virtual Leaders Africa program seeks to identify exceptional leaders in public, 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 values-based leaders, who create positive, innovative change in their communities, throughout Africa, and around the world.

Leaders participate in the following core elements as part of the program:

  • Weekly Virtual Video Calls

    These live virtual sessions are the primary form of collective engagement. These connections, an average of four times monthly, 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 work in peer learning groups that encourage deeper relationship-building and peer-learning, and offer opportunities to reflect on case studies of prominent African leaders, or discuss open questions from the group sessions.

  • Individualized Leadership Coaching

    Each Leader is paired with a coach to help them gain self-awareness, clarify goals, brainstorm ideas, achieve their development objectives, and unlock their potential.

How to Apply

The application for the 2024-2025 Leaders Africa program is now closed. Interested in being a part of a future Leaders Africa program? See below for eligibility requirements.

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  • Location

    The program currently invites individuals residing in all countries and territories in the continent of Africa.

  • Citizenship and Residency

    You must meet one of the following criteria:

    • Citizen of an African country or territory OR 

    • Permanent resident of an African country or territory OR 

    • Have lived in an African country or territory for at least the last 5 years, regardless of citizenship or permanent residence status 

  • Geographic Focus

    Your work is geographically focused on creating positive change for local communities, an African nation or territory, and/or the broader Africa region. You demonstrate a strong commitment to continue to focus your work in the Africa region.

  • Program Commitment

    You can commit to fully participating for the entire duration of the six-month program. The Leaders Africa program is currently scheduled to begin the week of September 9, 2024 and will conclude no later than May 1, 2025, with planned breaks throughout. Exact dates are subject to change. You must be able to attend between 8 and 12 hours of required virtual programming each month, as well as attend required leadership coaching sessions and engage in community group discussions throughout the program duration.

  • Language Proficiency & Age

    You are professionally proficient in spoken and written English and you will be between 24 and 45 years of age on August 26, 2024.

  • Political Campaigns

    You will refrain from participating in an electoral campaign as a candidate for political office from the time you are accepted into the program through May 1, 2025. Selection decisions are currently scheduled to be sent out in July and August 2024.

  • Leadership Experience

    You can demonstrate at least 3 years of relevant experience in your issue area. 

  • Jurisdiction and Ability to Participate in a U.S.-Based Program

    The Obama Foundation is based in the United States. To participate in the program, you must be under no legal or regulatory restrictions that would limit your participation in virtual Foundation programming or travel to the U.S. for in-person programming (if any).


For more information about the Obama Foundation Leaders Africa program and answers to some of the most frequently asked questions, visit our FAQ page.

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