By Our Reporter
Stanbic Bank has contributed Ushs 10 million to the Young and Emerging Leaders Project (YELP), an initiative of the LéO Africa Institute. Started in 2017, YELP will induct 20 outstanding thought leaders annually into a fellowship program designed to train and orient values of self-advancement, integrity, social responsibility and socioeconomic transformation. The project was established within principles of the African spirit of ‘Agaciro’, which espouses the dignity, self-worth and identity of the African as the cornerstone of leadership values.
Speaking at the handover ceremony held at the bank in the week ending 30th June 2017, Stanbic Bank’s Head of Marketing Daniel Ogong said, “The youth are a key pillar in the transformation of Uganda and East Africa as a whole. As a bank, we recognize the important role they have to play in our future socio-economic development which is the reason why more than 70% of our Corporate Social Investment Budget is directed towards Early Childhood Development projects, Primary and Secondary education. When you take into account the fact that Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world, such private sector interventions to supplement Government educational programs are therefore critically important and very necessary.”
According to UN Statistics, over 78% Uganda’s population is below the age of 30. With eight million youth aged between 15 and 30 years of age, the country also has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in Sub-Sahara Africa. And though Uganda is making significant strides economically, it faces significant challenges in meeting its young people’s needs today and their challenges tomorrow as its population continues to grow at a rate of 3.2% annually.
Cathy Adengo, Stanbic’s Head of Communications and CSI added, “Young people need a great deal of support to help them achieve their aspirations. It’s critical to nurture young and inspiring leaders who will be instrumental in shaping the future of our country. We are pleased to be part of this great initiative that promotes youth empowerment and leadership through education.”
Accepting the contribution on behalf of the Institute, Kwezi Tabaro the Deputy Director of LéO Africa Institute expressed his gratitude to the bank for the kind gesture and support.
“We hope through this partnership, to grow the fellowship as a continuous yearly engagement where we seek to create a generation of thinkers, leaders, commentators and influencers within our society. We welcome Stanbic on this journey to create a better society. In selection of participants, we considered young leaders who are conscious of their duty in transforming society and are dedicated to promoting Africa’s interests and image in the world especially those concerned with addressing issues of poverty, climate change, unemployment, and fostering social justice,” he said.
Tabaro explained the program is expected to build a critical mass of individuals committed to personal development, advancement of career, and shaping a progressive future for Uganda and East Africa.
YELP is one of a number of high impact youth oriented Social Investment projects that Stanbic supports. Others include, the 2017 SME Business Mentorship Program where 210 SMEs were trained in strategic business management and the recent construction and handover in February of a brand new ECD center at Ggaba Market landing site which provides free daycare for 40 children from families working in the nearby fish market.
Nyambura is a senior journalist based in Kampala