On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with four young professionals from Sub-Saharan Africa in Iowa this summer as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship program, the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative.
This summer, each of the fellows is developing business skills they will be able to take back home, and they are also forming connections with one another - an important aspect of the program, according to Dimy Doresca, director of the UI Institute for International Business.
"We're going to build a strong and powerful network to facilitate an exchange of goods, an exchange of ideas, in order to really make Africa, the continent of Africa, the strongest in the world," he says.
The program started in 2014, and competition to be part of the program is strong. 40,000 people applied, 1,000 were selected, and 25 of those individuals came to Iowa in partnership with the University of Iowa, with 25 at Drake University.
The four fellows featured on this show include: Dave Okech from Kenya, founder and managing director of an animal-feed manufacturing company; Ruramiso Mashumba from Zimbabwe, a farmer, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union youth wing, and member of the Southern African Confederation of Agriculture Unions; Peter Yakobe from Malawi, managing director of an investment company involved in poultry products and the founder and executive director of the Center For Free Market Enterprise; and Lulayn Awgichew Ergette from Ethiopia, co-founder of an agribusiness company.