The Obama Foundation has selected 200 rising leaders from forty-four African countries for its civic leadership programme on the continent.
Named “The Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa programme”, the one-year leadership development and civic engagement programme aims to train, support and connect emerging African leaders to create positive change in their communities.
“We want to inspire, empower, and connect this pan-African group of leaders who show so much potential to change our common future for the better,” said Bernadette Meehan, Chief International Officer of the Obama Foundation.
The selected young leaders — working in government, civil society and the private sector— have in the past demonstrated the extraordinary potential for impact and capacity to advance the common good within their spheres of influence.
One of the 200 young Africans selected for the leadership programme is twin brothers, Kehinde Ayanleye and Taiwo Ayanleye who co-founded Stutern, a startup designed to bridge one of the biggest gaps in Africa – unemployment. The platform is focused on igniting Nigeria’s economic growth through skills and career development, connecting employers who need talent, to millennials with plenty of it.
“We started Stutern after we had completed our Master’s Degrees in the UK. When we came back to Nigeria, we were overwhelmed by the high level of unemployment in our home country. Around 3.6 million young people join the labour force every year, and only 400,000 applicants land a job. That means millions of people remain unemployed. We knew that our acquired skillset could tackle this problem and make a difference,” says Ayanleye.
The brothers spent their time developing Stutern as an accessible platform to connect the right talent to the right employers. This made sense as many young Nigerians were seeking an opportunity to build careers.
“Our platform has been extremely successful in attracting talent and connecting people to jobs,” says Taiwo. “Over the past months, we’ve had a 96% placement rate for the talent that we sign-up; when we started our placement rate was only 40%. It’s been a long journey, and there’s still lots to do, but we’re seeing more youngsters signing up and finding work. It is remarkably gratifying.”
The brothers are focused on creating a business that will have a long-term impact that extends beyond the borders of Nigeria.
“We’re looking to provide more jobs and help more people build skills so we can transform our country and our economy,” says Ayanleye. “Our participation in the Obama Foundation may allow us to move forward with a deeper level of support and make a difference to the very real problem of youth unemployment that faces Nigeria, and countries beyond our borders.”
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