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H.R. 965 (117th): YALI Act of 2021


The text of the bill below is as of Oct 28, 2021 (Reported by Senate Committee). The bill was not enacted into law.


II

Calendar No. 161

117th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 965

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

April 22, 2021

Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

October 28, 2021

Reported by , with an amendment

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic

AN ACT

To establish a comprehensive United States Government initiative to build the capacity of young leaders and entrepreneurs in Africa, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Young African Leaders Initiative Act of 2021 or YALI Act of 2021.

2.

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1)

the Young African Leaders Initiative, launched in 2010, is a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders;

(2)

Africa is a continent of strategic importance and it is vital for the United States to support strong and enduring partnerships with the next generation of African leaders; and

(3)

the United States Government should prioritize investments to build the capacity of emerging young African leaders in sub-Saharan Africa, including through efforts to enhance leadership skills, encourage entrepreneurship, strengthen public administration and the role of civil society, and connect young African leaders continentally and globally across the private, civic, and public sectors.

3.

Young African Leaders Initiative Program

(a)

In general

There is established in the Department of State the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) program.

(b)

Purpose

The YALI program shall seek to build the capacity of young African leaders in sub-Saharan Africa in the areas of business, civic engagement, or public administration, including through efforts to—

(1)

support young African leaders by offering professional development, training, and networking opportunities, particularly in the areas of leadership, innovation, civic engagement, elections, human rights, entrepreneurship, good governance, and public administration; and

(2)

provide increased economic and technical assistance to young African leaders to promote economic growth and strengthen ties between United States and African businesses.

(c)

Fellowships

The YALI program shall award fellowships under the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders program to young African leaders ages 18 to 35 who have demonstrated strong capabilities in entrepreneurship, innovation, public service, and leadership, and who have had a positive impact in their communities, organizations, or institutions.

(d)

Regional leadership centers

The YALI program shall seek to establish regional leadership centers in sub-Saharan Africa to offer training to young African leaders ages 18 to 35 who have demonstrated strong capabilities in entrepreneurship, innovation, public service and leadership, and who have had a positive impact in their communities, organizations, or institutions.

(e)

Activities

(1)

United States-based activities

The Secretary of State, in coordination with the Administrator for the United States Agency for International Development and the heads of other relevant Federal departments and agencies, shall oversee all United States-based activities carried out under the YALI program, including the following:

(A)

The participation of Mandela Washington fellows in a six-week Leadership Institute at a United States university or college in business, civic engagement, or public management, including academic sessions, site visits, professional networking opportunities, leadership training, community service, and organized cultural activities.

(B)

The participation by Mandela Washington fellows in an annual Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit, to provide such Fellows the opportunity to meet with United States leaders from the private, public, and non-profit sectors.

(2)

Africa-based activities

The Secretary of State, in coordination with the Administrator for the United States Agency for International Development and the heads of other relevant Federal departments and agencies, should continue to support YALI programs in sub-Saharan Africa, including the following:

(A)

Access to continued leadership training and other professional development opportunities for Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders alumni upon their return to their home countries, including online courses, technical assistance, and access to funding.

(B)

Training for young African leaders at regional leadership centers established in accordance with subsection (d), and through online and in-person courses offered by such centers.

(C)

Opportunities for networking and engagement with—

(i)

other alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders;

(ii)

alumni of programs at regional leadership centers established in accordance with subsection (d); and

(iii)

United States and like-minded diplomatic missions, business leaders, and others as appropriate.

(3)

Implementation

To carry out this subsection, the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development and the heads of other relevant Federal departments and agencies shall seek to partner with the private sector to pursue public-private partnerships, leverage private sector expertise, expand networking opportunities, and identify funding opportunities as well as fellowship and employment opportunities for participants in the YALI program.

(f)

Implementation plan

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development and the heads of other relevant Federal departments and agencies, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a plan for implementing the YALI program, including the following:

(1)

A description of clearly defined program goals, targets, and planned outcomes for each year and for the duration of implementation of the program.

(2)

A strategy to monitor and evaluate the program and progress made toward achieving such goals, targets, and planned outcomes.

(3)

A strategy to ensure the program is promoting United States foreign policy goals in Africa, including ensuring that the program is clearly branded and paired with robust public diplomacy efforts.

(g)

Report

Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter for 5 years, the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees and publish in a publicly accessible, internet–based form, a report on the following:

(1)

The progress made toward achieving the goals, targets, and planned outcomes described in subsection (f)(1), including an overview of the program implemented in the previous year and an estimated number of beneficiaries.

(2)

An assessment of how the YALI program is contributing to and promoting United States-Africa relations, particularly in areas of increased private sector investment, trade promotion, support to civil society, improved public administration, and fostering entrepreneurship and youth empowerment.

(3)

Recommendations for improvements or changes to the program and implementation plan, if any, that would improve their effectiveness during subsequent years of implementation of the program.

(h)

Appropriate congressional committees defined

In this section, the term appropriate congressional committees means—

(1)

the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives; and

(2)

the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate.

(i)

Sunset

The requirements of this section shall terminate on the date that is 5 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Young African Leaders Initiative Act of 2021 or YALI Act of 2021.

2.

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1)

the Young African Leaders Initiative, launched in 2010, is a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders;

(2)

Africa is a continent of strategic importance and it is vital for the United States to support strong and enduring partnerships with the next generation of African leaders;

(3)

the United States Government should prioritize investments to build the capacity of emerging young African leaders in sub-Saharan Africa, including through efforts to—

(A)

enhance leadership skills;

(B)

encourage entrepreneurship;

(C)

strengthen public administration and the role of civil society;

(D)

enhance peace and security in their respective countries of origin and across Africa; and

(E)

connect young African leaders continentally and globally across the private, civic, and public sectors;

(4)

youth in Africa have a positive impact on efforts to foster economic growth, improve public sector transparency and governance, and counter extremism, and should be an area of focus for United States outreach on the African continent; and

(5)

the Secretary of State should—

(A)

increase the number of fellows from Africa participating in the Mandela Washington Fellowship above the estimated 700 fellows who participated during fiscal year 2021; and

(B)

identify additional ways to connect YALI alumni to United States public and private resources and institutions.

3.

Young African Leaders Initiative program

(a)

In general

There is established the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), which shall be carried out by the Secretary of State.

(b)

Purpose

YALI shall seek to build the capacity of young African leaders in sub-Saharan Africa in the areas of business, civic engagement, or public administration, including through efforts to—

(1)

support young African leaders by offering professional development, training, and networking opportunities, particularly in the areas of leadership, innovation, civic engagement, elections, human rights, entrepreneurship, good governance, peace and security, and public administration; and

(2)

provide increased economic and technical assistance to young African leaders to promote economic growth, strengthen ties between United States and African businesses, build resilience to predatory lending practices, and improve capacity in key economic areas such as tendering, bidding, and contract negotiations, budget management and oversight, anti-corruption, and establishment of clear policy and regulatory practices.

(c)

Fellowships

(1)

In general

YALI shall support the participation in the United States in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders of fellows from Africa who—

(A)

are between25 and 35 years of age;

(B)

have demonstrated strong capabilities in entrepreneurship, innovation, public service, and leadership; and

(C)

have had a positive impact in their communities, organizations, or institutions.

(2)

Oversight

The fellowships described in paragraph (1) shall be overseen by the Secretary of State through the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.

(3)

Eligibility

The Secretary of State shall establish and publish—

(A)

eligibility criteria for participation as a fellow under paragraph (1); and

(B)

criteria for determining which eligible applicants will be selected.

(d)

Reciprocal exchanges

Subject to the approval of the Secretary of State, United States citizens may—

(1)

engage in reciprocal exchanges in connection with alumni of the fellowship described in subsection (c); and

(2)

collaborate on projects with such fellowship alumni.

(e)

Regional leadership centers and networks

The Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development shall establish—

(1)

not fewer than 4 regional leadership centers in sub-Saharan Africa to offer in-person and online training throughout the year on business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management to young African leaders between 18 and 35 years of age who have demonstrated strong capabilities in entrepreneurship, innovation, public service and leadership, and peace-building and conflict resolution, and who have had a positive impact in their communities, organizations, or institutions; and

(2)

an online network that provides information and courses on, and connections with leaders in, the private and public sectors of Africa.

(f)

Activities

(1)

United States-based activities

The Secretary of State, in coordination with the heads of relevant Federal departments and agencies, shall oversee all United States-based activities carried out under YALI, including—

(A)

the participation of Mandela Washington Fellows in a six-week Leadership Institute at a United States educational institution in business, civic engagement, or public management, including academic sessions, site visits, professional networking opportunities, leadership training, community service, and organized cultural activities; and

(B)

the participation by Mandela Washington fellows in an annual Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit, to provide such Fellows the opportunity to meet with United States leaders from the private, public, and non-profit sectors.

(2)

Africa-based activities

The Secretary of State, in coordination with the Administrator for the United States Agency for International Development and the heads of other relevant Federal departments and agencies, should continue to support YALI activities in sub-Saharan Africa, including—

(A)

continued leadership training and other professional development opportunities for Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders alumni upon their return to their home countries, including online courses, technical assistance, and access to funding;

(B)

training for young African leaders at regional leadership centers established in accordance with subsection (e), and through online and in-person courses offered by such centers; and

(C)

opportunities for networking and engagement with—

(i)

alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders;

(ii)

alumni of programs at regional leadership centers established in accordance with subsection (e);

(iii)

United States and like-minded diplomatic missions, business leaders, and others as appropriate; and

(iv)

where practicable and appropriate, other United States-funded regional leadership programs, including the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI), the Young Pacific Leaders (YPL), and the Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI), and through Department of State programs such as the Community Engagement Exchange Program and other initiatives.

(3)

Implementation

To carry out this subsection, the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development and the heads of other relevant Federal departments and agencies shall seek to partner with the private sector to pursue public-private partnerships, leverage private sector expertise, expand networking opportunities, and identify funding opportunities as well as fellowship and employment opportunities for YALI.

(g)

Implementation plan

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development and the heads of other relevant Federal departments and agencies, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a plan for implementing YALI, including—

(1)

a description of clearly defined program goals, targets, and planned outcomes for each year and for the duration of implementation of the program;

(2)

a strategy to monitor and evaluate the program and progress made toward achieving such goals, targets, and planned outcomes; and

(3)

a strategy to ensure the program is promoting United States foreign policy goals in Africa, including ensuring that the program is clearly branded, paired with robust public diplomacy efforts, and incorporates diversity among participants as practicable, including countries and communities in Africa facing economic distress, civil conflict, marginalization, and other challenges.

(h)

Report

Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter for 5 years, the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees and publish in a publicly accessible, internet–based form, a report that includes—

(1)

a description of the progress made toward achieving the goals, targets, and planned outcomes described in subsection (g)(1), including an overview of the program implemented in the previous year and an estimated number of beneficiaries;

(2)

an assessment of how YALI is contributing to and promoting United States-Africa relations, particularly in areas of increased private sector investment, trade promotion, support to civil society, improved public administration, promoting peace and security, and fostering entrepreneurship and youth empowerment;

(3)

recommendations for improvements or changes to YALI and the implementation plan, if any, that would improve their effectiveness during subsequent years of YALI’s implementation; and

(4)

for the first report submitted under this subsection, an assessment of the feasibility of expanding YALI to Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt.

(i)

Appropriate congressional committees defined

In this section, the term appropriate congressional committees means—

(1)

the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate;

(2)

the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate;

(3)

the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives; and

(4)

the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.

(j)

Sunset

The requirements of this section shall terminate on the date that is 5 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

October 28, 2021

Reported with an amendment