The YALDA i-Boot Camp in Kenya was scheduled to take place in 2014, but unfortunately, due to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the event was postponed to 2015. This challenge was the impetus for YALDA to introduce this new innovative platform that would enable those who are not able to travel to participate in some of the conference activities online.  The i-Boot Camp has a strategic focus on youth engagement in addressing Africa’s developmental challenges, in a fast-pace, high intensity environment.

The i-Boot Camp was themed: “What Africa Needs Now: Youth Creating Jobs!”   and it took place at the United States International University, Nairobi, Kenya.  The conference brought together over 250 youth and prominent professionals both from Africa and abroad—to inspire, up-skill, assist and expose young people to  find a way to address Africa’s immense youth unemployment by leveraging the potential of the very youth that are deemed a social problem. During this conference young people were equipped with tools and strategies to lead visible and pragmatic change on the continent.

The industry specific panel sessions and site visits focused on how young people could create enterprises by providing valuable products and services in their communities, by embracing innovation.  The panels also explored opportunities arising from various sectors such as: agriculture; retail and hospitality; multi-media, manufacturing, green jobs, and natural resource beneficiation.

Additionally, the i-Boot Camp gave participants an opportunity to develop or expand tangible projects. This helped them refine their distinctive ideas and gave the youth the avenues and directed them to resources to bring these ideas to fruition in their respective countries and communities. Delegates were given an opportunity to then present these unique ideas to industry experts for constructive feedback and to receive further leads to for more support in the idea implementation stage. Conference participants had the opportunity to explore Nairobi, one of Africa’s most dynamic and cosmopolitan cities.

Lastly, delegates will had the opportunity to network with Africa’s leading professionals across various sectors, and build relationships with their peers from different countries. This enabled delegates to build knowledge sharing networks beyond their home countries, in order to leverage the power of Africa’s regional integration and position delegates for success beyond their home countries.

Undoubtedly, at YALDA we believe the crux of all our i-Boot Camps is to enable young Africans to share and cooperate across racial, cultural, religious and national boundaries and to have an Africa developed by Africans.  By sharing lessons from past experiences and developing enterprises to address Africa’s immense unemployment challenges, young people will be instrumental in helping avoid duplication of effort and strengthening efficient resource mobilisation thereby spurring the African continent to greatness!