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Live Updates: Obama addresses Young leaders

Washington Fellowship
500 Washington fellowship for young African leaders, among them them 30 Zimbabweans, are at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington to meet Barack Obama

500 Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, among them them 30 Zimbabweans, are at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington to meet United States President Obama.

The three day Presidential conference that starts today will see the Sub-Saharan most promising leaders meet with entrepreneurs, government officials and civil society representatives.

The Presidential Summit follows six weeks of academic study at 20 institutions across the United States as part of the Washington Fellowship.

Alpha Media Holding Online Editor John Mokwetsi, who is covering the event, gives a live feed of the event.

Some of YALI fellows attending the conference. In the background are flags of some of the representing countries from which some of fellows were selected. Picture by Rumbidzai Dube. (second row, 4th from left)

1412 hrs(CAT) Secretary John Kerry will shortly provide welcome remarks.

United States Embassy in Harare is also live-tweeting details of the event>>>>

1440rs (C.A.T) Rumbidzai Dube, a Zimbabwean YALI participant speaks on the atmosphere at the Omni Shoreham and anticipation to meet Obama:

“So far electric, everyone is brimming with anticipation”


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1456 hrs (C.A.T) Quite an electrifying atmosphere. It is not everyday that young ambitious African leaders get a chance to meet the most powerful President on earth.


1500hrs (C.A.T) People take their seats in anticipation of the arrival of United States Secretary of State John Kerry. The session will be streamed live here


In his speech, John Kerry is expected to highlight the U.S. commitment to Africa and the recognition of the critical and increasing role that young Africans are playing in strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa.


1516 hrs C.A.T Kerry takes the podium. The house stands up to welcome him.

Kerry addresses YALI fellows. Picture by Moses Nkomo a Zimbabwean YALI fellow
Kerry addresses YALI fellows. Picture by Moses Nkomo a Zimbabwean YALI fellow

1522hrs C.A.T Kerry:” We are investing in you so that you can invest in your country. This is a great moment for Africa, but make no mistake, it’s not automatic, it’s also a moment of decision.”

1530hrs C.A.T John Kerry has just paid tribute to the work that Zimbabwean Zandile Lambu (pictured below) is doing in technology.


About Zandile: She is currently employed by Econet, a telecommunications company, where her responsibilities include mobile money (Ecocash) and other overlays for Econet Wireless. Her previous professional experience includes IT and retail banking at local bank. Click here to read all about Zandile

15:32 C.A.T Kerry has finished his opening remarks and one of the notable things he has said is that HIV infections in Africa have declined by nearly 40 percent & malaria deaths among children declined by 50 percent.   1540hrs C.A.T Happening now is a Congressional Forum on Investing in the Next Generation of Africa,remarks by U.S. Senator Christopher Coons (DE), U.S. Senator John Boozman (AR) and U.S. Representative Karen Bass (CA). Coons recalls his time in Tanzania and praised the hospitality of the African people   Boozman:” During the liberation struggle I was involved in the anti apartheid movement. I recently found out that my DNA could be traced back to Cameroon. I would love to visit the country in a few years.”     Boozman: “Rule of Law and infrastructure critical for growth on the African continent.”   1620  C.A.T : Rumbidzai Dube, who is also In Washington as a YALI fellow, has said she is proud that Senator Kerry “has  mentioned one of our Zimbabwean fellows Zandile Lambu for her role in using technology to improve quality of life in Zimbabwe. We are all so proud!” Meanwhile Senator Boozman says Africa has a middle class that’s hungry for U.S. products. Click here to Watch the panel discussion NOW here!     1625 C.A.T: U.S President Obama expected in a few minutes. Particpants clearly excited by the highlight of the day

 Selfie Time  Kenyan YALI Fellows, excited about the conference, take time to pose fo a selfie
Selfie Time : Kenyan YALI Fellows, excited about the conference, take time to pose fo a selfie


1650 C.A.T The house called to order as Obama is expected in a moment.

1700 C.A.T Brian Geza, a Zimbabwean YALI participant tells John Mokwetsi on the sidelines:

“This has been a great opportunity for a boy who grew up in Mbare. I am excited that I will hear one of the greatest men of our time addressing us. I am ready to lead and to invest my knowledge in my country.”

1705 C.A.T Finally, what the YALI fellows have been waiting for, US President Barack Obama arrives, gets a standing ovation from the participants.

1710 C.A.T Obama speaks on the upcoming US-Africa summit 2014 and says it is a way to reach out to Africa About the US-AFrica Summit August: The United States will host the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC on August 5 and 6, 2014. According to the White House website: “President Obama looks forward to welcoming leaders from across the African continent to the Nation’s Capital to further strengthen ties with one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest-growing regions. The Summit will build on the progress made since the President’s trip to Africa last summer, advance the Administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa, and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people.”

President Obama addressing YALI Fellows
President Obama addressing YALI Fellows


1720 C.A.T The great nation of Zimbabwe getting mentioned again:

“Obama talked about a great spirit in one Zimbabwean YALI participant, Abigail Muleya from Binga, who has several bus rides just to get her interview.

“I believe in every one of u who are doing extraordinary things,” he said. About Abigail Muleya Abbigail Muleya Working in the Zambezi Valley, women’s empowerment activist, Abbigail Muleya, has a desire to see women and girls taking up leadership positions so they find solutions to the challenges they face. Her work in rural Binga, where internet and GPRS connectivity is catching up with Zimbabwe’s urban centers, is proof of Zimbabweans’ determination to support women in addressing some of the challenges they face. Read Abigail’s full profile here

1740 C.A.T #Obama: “Governance is a starting point, but you also have to have an education system in place, infrastructure
Picture by Sharleen Moyo, a Zimbabwean YALI Fellow
Picture by Sharleen Moyo, a Zimbabwean YALI Fellow

1745 C.A.T: Speaking about Gender Based Violence (GBV)< Obama says the US has commitment to end GBV. “One of the best measures of if a country succeeds or not is how it treats women,” he said. The United States has several gender empowerment programmes running in Zimbabwe. Obama on GBV

1800 C.A.T : On Africa’s debt, Obama says, “writing off Africa’s debts is not the solution, dealing with resource mismanagement is.”

1810 C.A.T: Obama ends his address, receives a standing ovation ____________

BACKGROUND ON THE YALI WASHINGTON FELLOWSHIP To see a video message from President Obama encouraging young African leaders to join the YALI Network click on: