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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ghanaian- American Leader Elizabeth Patterson on going to Cameroon this summer


The Council for Young African Leaders (CYAL) has become an important part of my development as a young professional seeking to make a tangible impact on the African continent. Based in New York, CYAL’s mission is to cultivate leadership from awareness to action” by connecting young Africans to programs that promote cultural awareness, networking opportunities and economic development in Africa. 
Elizabeth Akua-Nyarko Patterson (Photo: Patterson)

Our vision is to inspire the next generation of Africans leaders by challenging their ideas and thoughts in appreciation of Africa’s diversity. Since its formation in 2011 CYAL has organized numerous events and programs including its annual symposium, which has pulled attendance of hundreds of people, headlined by knowledgeable speakers and commentators on Africa’s development such as Solome Lemma and Farai Gundan.
As part of its mission to inspire the next generation of African leaders and promote positive development in Africa the CYAL is partnering with Le Club de l'économie et de la Finance Africaine (Le CLEFA).
The African Economical & Financial Club (Le CLEFA), a Pan-African Think-Tank, with a vision to redefine Africa both economically and financially by empowering the youth to fully unleash their potentially as either students, entrepreneurs or young professionals. 
The Council of Young African Leaders (CYAL)  will be in Cameroon on July 1-3, 2014 for the 2014 Cameroon Young African Leadership forum with the theme: The Emergence of Young Cameroonians’ Engagement in Economic Development. This conference will be held on July 1-3, 2014 in collaboration with local businesses and organizations. 
Topics to be highlighted at the conference include the role of youth in tackling the challenges of youth unemployment and transitioning from school to career. An area, which I’m all too familiar with as a recent graduate, is the discussion on transitioning from academia to the professional world. This portion of the program will highlight the Challenges and opportunities in transitioning, the value of internships/Professional Training, paying it Forward: volunteering, and building a marketable resume.
Another component of the conference will inform participants on becoming an entrepreneur. This is a topic most of the CYAL leadership is all too familiar with. The conference will culminate in a business plan competition. Cameroonian youth with the guidance of CYAL representatives and other professionals will draft a business plan and learn how to implement them.
The youth population in sub-Saharan Africa is increasing rapidly. This conference is a concrete way for those of us in the diaspora to connect with youth on the ground; it is an excellent opportunity for capacity building, resource and knowledge sharing. 

But we can’t do this without your support. Please visit http://www.gofundme.com/8hs62o to support our fundraising efforts for the trip and learn about some of the incentives to supporting us. We thank you!   

- Elizabeth Akua- Nyarko Patterson, the  CYAL Director of Marketing and Communications