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Concluding Washington Forum, Young Africans Promise Better Leadership

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

The delegates reminded each other in closing remarks that Africa was a continent with great potential, but that this could only be realized if young people took charge of their destiny

A White House-organized conference of young African leaders this week that featured a town hall meeting hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama concluded Thursday as delegates pledged to do their best for the continent.

Winding down the leadership conference, officials from U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration said they saw great promise in the young Africans gathered in Washington.

The delegates reminded each other in closing remarks that Africa was a continent with great potential, but that this could only be realized if young people took charge of their destiny and changed the way most African states are run by the current crop of political leaders all too often characterized by corruption and misgovernance.

Participants were drawn from all countries in Africa, including Zimbabwe, in the aim of providing them with a high-profile platform to take up issues affecting young people in Africa, and to propose solutions.

Programs Coordinator Masimba Nyamanhindi of Zimbabwe's Student Solidarity Trust said he learned a lot about leadership from the conference, not only in political terms but in the realm of economics as well.

Another Zimbabwean delegate, Cleopatra Ndlovu, told VOA Studio 7 that sharing experiences with participants from different parts of Africa has reinforced her conviction that women have a key role to play in uplifting Africa.

Delegates had an opportunity to interact directly with President Obama at a town hall meeting at the White House on Tuesday. Mr. Obama encouraged them to take up leadership roles. In those discussions Mr. Obama told the delegates he was "heartbroken" at the situation in Zimbabwe, saying President Robert Mugabe was not serving his people.

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