i-Boot Camp, where the i serves as a reminder that at YALDA we are here to inspire youth to innovate and implement ideas that will have a positive impact on our beloved African continent”

The YALDA 2020 i-Boot Camp will be held from 21 to 25 February 2024 and will engage and empower 350 youth to leverage the opportunities presented by the AfCFTA to build cross-border sustainable enterprises across Africa in a high-intensity and fast-paced environment, thereby enhancing the capacity of African youth from the bottom-up.  The i-Boot Camp will incorporate YALDA’s previous i-Boot Camp structures encompassing four key areas: industry-specific panel discussions; IDEA labs; workshops focused on refining ideas and refining skills; and site visits to youth-led projects and businesses across South Africa.  The i-Boot Camp will also add a new element to its workshops: a toolkit that will empower young people to effectively engage with national and regional policymakers on youth inclusiveness in the implementation of the AfCFTA.

As communication is a vital part of implementing the AfCFTA, we want to ensure that all brilliant ideas from all over the continent are shared and that language is not an impediment. Critical documents and summary presentations will be available in English and French.  Additionally, as YALDA embraces the digital revolution, it will continue to offer e-participation at this edition of the i-Boot Camp.  This will allow delegates who are unable to travel for whatever reason the chance to register and participate online through live audio and video, online communication/feedback including live feeds on Facebook, YouTube, MindMixers and other social media platforms.

First and most importantly, the i-Boot Camp will serve as a space for youth to come together to share, develop and expound upon tangible ideas. Starting with site visits, young people will learn first-hand what it takes to start, run and expand a sustainable enterprise across borders. They will also learn the challenges other young people have faced and how they overcame and turned those challenges into successful initiatives. Subsequent days in the i-Boot Camp will be filled with activities that allow delegates to share and refine their distinctive ideas within a concentrated time frame on a demanding schedule that includes daily mandatory written assignments that must be completed before registration for the following day’s activities.

Delegates will then be given the opportunity to present their unique ideas to industry experts and receive constructive feedback during industry panel sessions, where they will also receive leads for additional support in the idea implementation phase. The industry-specific panel sessions will not only educate participants on opportunities arising from the AfCFTA in various sectors but alert youth to the stakes involved in their specific industry’s potential that can be unleashed.  Some of the best ideas and initiatives under the respective panels will be awarded an investment package to kick-start the initiative in the winner’s community while promoting the very theme of the i-Boot Camp. Through these sessions, delegates will have the opportunity to network with Africa’s leading professionals across various sectors and build relationships with their peers from different countries.  In turn, delegates will be able to build expansive knowledge-sharing networks, leverage opportunities presented by the AfCFTA, and position delegates for success in and beyond their home countries.

Additionally, the various workshops and seminars will direct these young leaders to resources and opportunities to bring their ideas to fruition in their respective countries and beyond.  The i-Boot Camp will ensure participants leave the camp well-equipped to support state-level processes (trade offices, customs, etc.) by enhancing youth inclusiveness with a bottom-up approach that places youth at the center of rapid implementation of the AfCFTA through social entrepreneurship, mentorship, and youth engagement programs.

Undoubtedly, at YALDA we believe the crux of this i-Boot Camp is to enable young Africans to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the one-African market and ultimately, to have an Africa developed by Africans. Creating awareness is the strongest foundation for prosperity. Thus, by sharing lessons from past experiences and developing enterprises to address Africa’s challenges, young people (given their enormous potential) will be instrumental in strengthening and fostering the vision of a united Africa thereby contributing to the prosperity of our African continent!