Investing in Africa's Next generation of social entrepreneurs

"Investing in young African entrepreneurs like myself is transformative because it enables us to create real solutions that are more relevant to our community problems. And it equips Africa with more empowered people who are ready to tackle its challenges, use effectively its available resources and opportunities; and hence a brighter future for our continent." - Yvette Ishimwe

USADF & CITI Foundation YALI East Africa Winner Yvette Ishimwe of IRIBA, Rwanda

USADF & CITI Foundation YALI East Africa Winner Yvette Ishimwe of IRIBA, Rwanda



WASHINGTON, DC – December 13, 2016 – The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) in partnership with CITI Foundation is pleased to announce awards of $200K in grant funding to 20 young, East African social entrepreneurs developing businesses for social and community change, in Uganda 9, Kenya 5, Rwanda 3, DRC 2, and CAR 1.

As part of the Citi Foundation's Pathways to Progress global approach to prepare urban youth to thrive in today's economy, each Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) winner will receive $10K in seed capital grants to strengthen systems to support the growth of their companies – ranging from agribusiness, clean water and sanitation, financial education and lending services, and education. 

 The goal of the USADF & CITI Foundation YALI partnership is to increase business know-how and access to seed capital by Africa’s next generation of business leaders and social entrepreneurs. By investing in small grant funds and intensive technical assistance, Young African Leaders will in turn create jobs, train other youth, impact their communities and create or expand markets by providing goods and services.

As graduates of the East African YALI Regional Leadership Center (RLC), these young people have all demonstrated leadership in business, the ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups, and are strong communicators actively engaged in their communities. They are the future leaders committed to catalyzing change in their countries and Africa as a whole.

‘’We are proud to partner with UASDF and invest in youth through this program to help enable economic resilience and long-term competitiveness in East Africa,’’ said Karim Seifeddine, Head of Public Affairs, Citi. ‘’We continue to support programs that catalyse economic growth and provide solid economic opportunities to African youth.’’

Each USADF & CITI Foundation social entrepreneur gains operational knowledge in funds accountability and reporting, over the 6 month to one year grant period during which funds are disbursed, and have access to 1-on-1 business advice and mentoring, all tangible skills to help them grow their ventures. For example, two YALI RLC winners, Yvette Ishimwe of IRIBA Clean Water Delivery Ltd in Rwanda and Francis Xaiver Asiimwe of Kaaro Health Finance Limited illustrate how young people are setting the standard for businesses catalyzing for good.

Through IRIBA, Yvette is ensuring the sustainability, ease and affordability of clean water for drinking and household use to people in the most remote communities of Rwanda, who have little to no access to water, particularly clean water. They envision an Africa where every person has easy access to reliable and safe water for drinking and household activities. Today, IRIBA is serving 100 families who were not able to get access to affordable clean and drinkable water, employing 20 young people, and reversing a trend of young children in the neighborhood who would spend mornings collecting water from long distances - no longer being late or miss classes due to the time they used to spend in water collection centers. Yvette said, "Investing in young African entrepreneurs like myself is transformative because it enables us to create real solutions that are more relevant to our community problems. And it equips Africa with more empowered people who are ready to tackle its challenges, use effectively its available resources and opportunities; and hence a brighter future for our continent."

And Francis Xaiver Asiimwe of Kaaro Health Finance Limited is working for quality health care for all. Francis believes rural healthcare entrepreneurship is possible, profitable and low-risk, and Kaaro Health Finance Limited (KHF) has successfully financed the establishment of 4 new health facilities, expanded an additional 7 free-standing facilities and lease high-quality secondary care equipment to the most vulnerable. KHF's product are designed to eliminate energy and finance access issues by providing tailor-made, flexible lease-to-own medical and renewable energy equipment financing to private healthcare entrepreneurs who are already operating or intending to expand into these underserved areas.

 With today’s award, KHF will finance an existing acute need for pregnancy-related diagnostic imaging equipment in 4 newly established private for profit and 2 existing private nonprofit clinics in Panyangara sub-county, Kotido district. 3 of these health facilities will also each be financed to acquire a 2.2 kW solar power kit. In total, they expect these 6 facilities will treat 1,800 pregnant women in the first year alone.

 The USADF & CITI Foundation’s goal is to catalyze young African’s ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit to launch and expand their social enterprises so every African may be a part of Africa’s growth story. Since 2014, USADF has awarded over $3M to young leaders in 26 countries and 10 sectors.  In collaboration with the CITI Foundation, USADF will award up to 28 business plan competition winners in 2016 with $450,000 in seed capital, mentoring and business support.

About U.S. African Development Foundation: 

The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) is an independent U.S. Government agency established by Congress to support African owned and led enterprises which improve lives and livelihoods in poor and vulnerable African communities. For more information about today’s USADF and CITI Foundation YALI RLC winners, please contact Aysha House at or

 About Citi Foundation: 

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfil our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information,


USADF Empowering 50 Young African Entrepreneurs with $1,250,000 to Invest in their Social Ventures

Meet the 2016 USADF Business Plan Winners for YALI! These winners represent 22 countries and sectors ranging from agriculture and health to finance and tech. 

Meet the 2016 USADF Business Plan Winners for YALI! These winners represent 22 countries and sectors ranging from agriculture and health to finance and tech. 


The U.S. African Development Foundation is providing the next generation of young African leaders with a $1.25M grant program of seed capital to start or expand their social enterprises.

2016 USADF YALI Entrepreneurship Grant Winners and Judges

Washington, D.C.—August 2, 2016— Entrepreneurs from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, part of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), will be returning home with $1,250,000 in seed capital awarded by the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF). This year’s 50 winners from over twenty countries will be using these funds to launch or grow their business ventures to tackle social problems. These young leaders are already creating jobs, solving social issues with business solutions, and impacting thousands of Africans in their communities. On Monday, August 1, the 2016 YALI Entrepreneurship winners were officially announced at an awards dinner hosted by USADF, and held at Halcyon House in Washington, D.C.

Shortly before the 2016 YALI Summit on August 1-3, the grants winners were notified they had just won up to $25,000 in seed capital. Carolyne Ekyarisiima, founder of Apps and Girls, said, “I’m excited to partner with USADF who are investing in the future of Tanzanian girls.”

Another YALI Fellow, Miriam Odabe of Esteem Rice and Mill in Nigeria, said, “I’m exceptionally glad to be given this opportunity by USADF to be able to transform the agricultural sector of Nigeria and enhance self-sustainability in my country.”

The YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship is empowering exceptional young people, ages 25-35, who are already leaders in their fields. For the class of 2016, 1,000 African leaders were competitively selected from over 50,000 applicants to receive advanced training at top U.S. academic institutions. The program is providing the opportunity for this next generation of leaders in civil society, business and government to come to the United States to develop their professional and leadership skills. The USADF YALI Entrepreneurship Grants are a tangible part of continuing this catalytic program in Africa through mentoring, training, networking and professional placements.  

This $1,250,000 in grant funding is part of USADF’s $7.5 million commitment over three years to fund young African entrepreneurs’ who are launching and expanding their businesses and social ventures across Sub-Saharan Africa.

 List of 2016 USADF YALI Entrepreneurship Grant Winners

Power And Influence

+ EVANS ODUHO Navitas Global Water, South Sudan

+ GEORGE BAKKA Angels Initiative, Uganda

+ JAMES TARNUE JR iCount Liberia, Liberia

+ KABIR OLAJIDE Adunni Water Factory, Nigeria

+ LATJOR CHUOL YAL Africa - Potable Water, South Sudan

+ MINASE FAYE Warka Payments, Ethiopia

+ MIXON FALUWEKI Padoko Electronics Bike Lights, Malawi

+ MORWESI RAMONYAI Borena Watt a Woman Coop, South Africa

+ PAUL NKUMBULA Mabo Village Energy Exchange, Zambia

+ PETER NYAMAI XP Water Tank, Kenya

+ STEPHENNETTE TAYLOR New World Finance, Liberia

+ WES OWITI Cherehani Initiative, Kenya


Good Food

+ BERNARD ODURO Omanbapa Agripreneurship, Ghana

+ LINCOLN PEEDAH Neat Meat Guinea Fowls, Ghana

+ MIRIAM ODABE Esteem Rice and Mill, Nigeria

+ NOBUKHOSI NDLOVU Nutrie Foods, Zimbabwe

+ NOEL SOME Agriss, Burkina Faso

+ ORIANE BADA Green Garden Farm, Benin

+ OURA BOURAIMA Gardens of Hope, Benin

+ STANLEY ALPHONCE SmartFit Meal Cards, Tanzania

+ TSIFERANA RAZAFIMANDIMBY Cassava Bread Factory, Madagascar

+ VIOLET ACUMO Fresh N Peeled, Uganda

+ YESSE OLJANGE Avomeru Group, Tanzania


Healthy Communities

+ ADJO DEDE ASARE Alfie Designs, Ghana

+ ALLEGRIA NTUMBA Eco-Propre, Congo, Democratic Republic of the (DRC)

+ AUXIRIA MWANZA African Hive Camping + Tours, Zambia

+ BRENDA KATWESIGYE Wazi Vision, Uganda


+ EBUNOLUWA FARINDE Oge-Ibile, Nigeria

+ FLORENCE TOFFA Mobile Web Ghana, Ghana

+ HELLEN MUNIS Nuya’s Essence, Tanzania

+ HONORÉ ESSOH Bouyou Animated TV Series, Cote d’Ivoire

+ KAMRU AMIN GasoPharm, Uganda



+ MESAY LICHE New Preschool, Ethiopia

+ TAFANGY RAKOTONDRAIBE Aeromedical Health Center, Madagascar

+ TIDIANE BALL Melisant - Doctix, Mali



+ ABOUBACAR TOURE Wutiko, Senegal

+ ANGE IRANKUNDA Earth’s Swagg, Burundi

+ CAROLYNE EKYARISIIMA Apps and Girls, Tanzania

+ DYSMUS KISILU Solar Freeze, Kenya

+ EMILE UWEZOWAMUNGU Innova Group, Burundi

+ GEORGES KOUMBASSA Addition Group, Guinea

+ KUDZAI SAKAJERO Umba Create Hub, Zimbabwe

+ NAZEEM JUNGGEE 1950 Design & Print, Mauritius

+ NURU MURO, Tanzania

+ SIMON MALUGU Power Token Incubators, Tanzania

+ TAITA NGETICH Illuminum Greenhouses, Kenya

+ TSHIAMO DICHABE Thari Hydroponics, South Africa


The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is supporting young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.  This public-private partnership is empowering young people (ages 18-35) through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking opportunities in the U.S. and Africa. 

Since 2014, USADF has directly supported 95 YALI entrepreneurs, providing them with over $2.0M of grant funding to launch and expand their businesses across Africa.  These businessmen and women are working across sectors, from health and education, to IT and agribusiness to sell goods and services, create jobs, train youth, and increase incomes.  As winners of our business plan competitions, they have been eligible for Entrepreneurship Grants of $10K to $25K each.

In August, USADF will announce the outcome of the 2016 YALI Entrepreneurship Grants Program, which will be awarding up to $1.25M to up to 50 YALI Mandela Washington Fellows who are pursuing business and entrepreneurship.

In September, USADF will open a new grants competition,  which will be open to delegates who have completed training with the YALI Regional Leadership Center – East Africa.  Eligible entrepreneurs will be contacted directly by USADF at that time. 

Past Fellows

Selected from nearly 50,000 applications in 2014 and nearly 30,000 in 2015, the Mandela Washington Fellows represent the extraordinary promise of an emerging generation of entrepreneurs, activists, and public officials. USADF has awarded $1.9M in grant funding to 75 entrepreneurs selected from the 2014 and 2015 classes of YALI Mandela Washington Fellows, President Obama’s flagship program to train, encourage, and connect exceptional young African leaders in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.  The winners of USADF’s business plan competitions are each putting their grants of up to $25K to use in their social and business ventures -- by creating jobs, increasing incomes, and tackling challenges in their communities and countries.

Meet some of our 2015 YALI Entrepreneurs:


  • 2015 YALI Entrepreneurs Fact Sheet here
  • 2014 YALI Entrepreneurs Fact Sheet here
  • 2014 YALI Grant Winner Videos here