The Consul General of the U.S. Consulate in Lagos, Will Stevens, says African solutions are needed to address global problems of which include climate change, food insecurity, poor leadership, among others.
He made this known at the 2023 Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) Reunion Conference organised by the consulate for fellows who recently completed their programmes at various prestigious institutions in the U.S.
Stevens charged the fellows to work together to solve global problems, noting that the MWF as well as other exchange programmes focused on building connections that would last.
According to him, the mission’s hope is that fellows bring back research, business and media ties back into Nigeria, so it leads to investment and partnership.
“This is an incredible time to be part of the U.S. relationship with the continent and with Nigeria in particular because I think about the second half of the 21st century as the African century.
“This relationship right now is so strong, but it’s built on relationships between people, partnerships between our companies, universities, and civil society actors.
“But we need to start working together even more, because the problems that we face are global in nature,” he said.
This relationship right now is so strong, but it’s built on relationships between people, partnerships between our companies, universities, and civil society actors.
Stevens said that the fellows were the network and the future, noting that he had incredible faith in them.
“I have incredible faith in the dynamism that Nigeria produces in all sectors, and I am yet to see the Nigerian faced with a problem that they don’t think they can overcome.”
He noted that Nigeria has an average age of 19 and explained that youths were engaged by connecting and helping them to relate with their peers in the U.S. while identifying areas they could work together.
Speaking with newsmen, Dr Rabi Sufi, one of the fellows noted that the programme was very valuable to her, considering the work she does in the health sector.
Sufi, who was posted to Wayne State University in Michigan, said she gained both academic and leadership skills, and how to build advocacy.
“I did a lot of community awareness programmes in the community, and I was able to get more knowledge on how to deal with leaders in such communities while increasing the impact of my work,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that MWF, the flagship programme of the U.S. Government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) was established in 2014 to empower young African leaders in Sub-Saharan Africa between the ages of 25 and 35.
Fifty-seven young Nigerians participated in the 2023 programme for six weeks at some of America’s top educational institutions, focusing on tracks including business, civic engagement, or public management. (NAN)