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Youth Leadership Competition

The Youth Leadership Competition is organised as a component of the African Leadership Forum (ALF) to provide a space for the youth of Africa and the next generation of leaders in the region to contribute to important discussions on leadership and sustainable development.

In each contest, African citizens between the age of 18 and 25 are asked to write about their perspectives on leadership as it relates to a theme tied to the ALF.  

The essays are rigorously evaluated on the basis of originality, organisation, creativity, appropriateness to contest theme and the use of language. The winners get the opportunity to participate in the ALF plenary session and receive their awards at a prize-giving ceremony – in the presence of distinguished delegates from the forum.

Since 2013, seven competitions have been organised. Thematic areas covered include: Meeting the challenges of Africa’s transformation (2014); Moving towards an integrated Africa: What needs to be done? (2015); Enabling African business to transform the continent (2016); Peace and security for an integrated, united, and sustainable Africa (2017); Financing Africa’s transformation for sustainable development (2018); Promoting good natural resource management for socio-economic transformation in Africa (2019); and Promoting intra-Africa trade to unlock agricultural potential in Africa (2023).


Young Africans between the age of 18 and 25.


The contest is organised as part of the African Leadership Forum.

Previous winners spotlight

Panashe Gombiro

Winner: 2019
“I believe that all young Africans should take part in the contest. The research and preparation involved in writing your essay is the most rewarding part of it. Through this, we gain knowledge, awaken to and engage with the realities of our Continent. The contest becomes a sustainable pedestal to equip youth to take the action needed.”

Victor Ndede

Winner: 2018
“For me, the highlight was just being in the space where high-level discussions were taking place. I got the opportunity to attend the plenary session of the African Leadership Forum, where we had a keynote address from H.E. Paul Kagame then, a high-level panel discussion.”

Victor Azure

Winner: 2017
“I believe that Africa’s development can be fully realised if African youth are inspired to find innovative, well-suited and sustainable solutions to African problems. So, I was very excited to find a platform such as UONGOZI Institute’s Youth Leadership Competition, which allowed young people like me to contribute to important discussions on building a peaceful and sustainable Africa.”

Liz Guantai

Winner: 2016
“My highlight of the day was meeting so many inspiring people at the ALF. I talked to a lot of participants, most of whom are established leaders and business owners who were very generous to share their knowledge and experience with aspiring leaders like myself.”

Find out more about how previous winners view the competition and what it takes to win.