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Shaka Ssali Moderates Panel on Young African Leaders Initiative

Shaka Ssali moderates a panel on Capitol Hill on the importance of youth leadership in Africa
Shaka Ssali of VOA’s Straight Talk Africa fame moderated a recent panel discussion on Capitol Hill about “The Importance of Youth Leadership in Africa.”

With Ssali on the panel were three young leaders from Togo, Ghana, and Rwanda, all participants in President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative created to engage the continent’s next cadre of leaders and strengthen partnerships between the United States and Africa. In front of an audience that included members of Congress and experts on Africa, the panel discussed the important role young people have today in Africa.

One of the panelists, Frank Mugisha, a human rights lawyer from Rwanda, brought up the genocide that took place 20 years ago this month, and said young Rwandans are playing a major role in rebuilding the country.

Mugisha and the two other panelists, Manasse Fatonzoun and Adwoa Amea Gyambibi, also spoke about what they have gained so far from the Young African Leaders Initiative, and how they and other young people are working to strengthen democratic processes in their countries.

Toward the end of the discussion, moderator Ssali thanked the panelists for “giving us a sense that there is hope after all for the whole continent of Africa, especially if we look at your generation.”

Ssali said the discussion gave him a special opportunity to meet with future leaders, “who are being challenged and inspired by President Obama’s initiative. With this new generation, we see so much promise.”

Members of Congress, State Department officials, leaders in the fields of economics and education, along with numerous African dignitaries attended the discussion, the latest in a series of Africa Policy Breakfast meetings hosted by U.S. Representative Karen Bass (D-CA).
“I want to use your mic, in front of everybody, to thank the Voice of America, because Voice of America is also Voice of Africa.”
Ambassador Daouda Diabate

During the Q&A session following the panel discussion, Ivory Coast’s ambassador to the United States, Daouda Diabate, expressed his gratitude to Voice of America for the role it plays in Africa.

The ambassador said: “I want to use your mic, in front of everybody, to thank the Voice of America, because Voice of America is also Voice of Africa.”

Ssali is a Ugandan-born American journalist and host of Straight Talk Africa, a one-hour international call-in show that engages listeners and viewers throughout Africa on key issues. The English-language program airs on satellite TV and is simulcast on radio and the Internet.

The entire panel discussion can be viewed here.