Esteemed Partners, Speakers, Participants and Supporters,

We are delighted to welcome you to our 8th International i-Boot Camp, that will hosted by Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA) in the vibrant city of Pretoria, South Africa on the 21st – 25th February, 2024. Our theme, “Breaking Information Barriers in Intra-Africa Trade: Accelerating Youth Inclusiveness in Implementing the AfCFTA,” holds deep significance for our continent’s growth and progress.  

Our i-Boot Camp is an intensive training programme that seeks to empower young African entrepreneurs with the knowledge and resources needed to bridge information gaps and seize the boundless potential of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the AfCFTA Secretariat, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for co-convening this auspicious training programme with us.  Together, we have forged an alliance committed to nurturing young African entrepreneurs. We also thank the University of Pretoria and the Future Africa Center for their unwavering partnership and support.

In these dynamic times, the arrival of our i-Boot Camp could not be more pertinent. Our theme holds profound significance as it resonates with the current pulse of our continent. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has opened unprecedented opportunities for our continent, and it is imperative that our youth are at the forefront of this transformative revolution.  As the African Union declared 2023 the year for the “Acceleration of AfCFTA Implementation,” we find ourselves on the cusp of an era filled with boundless opportunities.

At this i-Boot Camp, we aim to do more than discuss challenges and opportunities; we aspire to take concrete actions. During the 5 intensive days, we will connect 250 young African entrepreneurs with investors offering them the crucial training needed to expand their businesses across the continent and beyond. Our training programme is poised to equip individuals with the skills and knowledge required to thrive in the evolving trade landscape in the global market.

Our primary goal is to empower young African entrepreneurs with the knowledge and resources needed to leverage the full potential of the AfCFTA. This intensive program offers a unique opportunity to connect youth with dedicated angel investors who are committed to supporting exceptional youth-driven businesses, helping them overcome capital challenges and providing essential training for financing readiness and expanding their businesses across borders.

Additionally, we have an exciting pitch competition for our valued delegates, where the winner will receive a $10,000 investment or more to further their innovative growth plans. It’s an opportunity for youth to expand their businesses across borders, which is vital for them to thrive in today’s dynamic business landscape.

Let’s actively engage, learn, and collaborate to accelerate the AfCFTA’s implementation. Let’s break down the barriers obstructing the free flow of information. We are catalysts for change and visionaries of Africa’s future. Together, we will unlock boundless opportunities, ignite the spirit of entrepreneurship and create jobs for Africa’s youth.

As you step into Pretoria, a city steeped in history, culture, and innovation, where possibilities know no bounds, we look forward to a week filled with inspiration and impact. Let’s make this i-Boot Camp an unforgettable success!

Grant Davis

YALDA South Africa i-Boot Camp 2024 Chairperson