October 22, 2021

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Passes Van Hollen, Rounds, Bass Legislation To Strengthen U.S. Partnership With African Nations

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Congresswoman Karen Bass applauded the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s passage this week of their bipartisan Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Act of 2021. This legislation would make permanent the State Department’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and was passed by the House of Representatives on April 20, 2021. Senator Van Hollen and Senator Rounds are Chair and Ranking Member, respectively, of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, and Congresswoman Bass is the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations. 

YALI is the United States’ signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. Nearly 1 in 3 Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and approximately 60 percent of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35. YALI was launched in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across sub-Saharan Africa.

“Building strong people-to-people relationships with the emerging leaders around the world helps promote understanding, support American values, and expand opportunities for all. The Young African Leaders Initiative is an innovative way to strengthen our ties with African nations and build a better, brighter future for both the people of these nations and ours. I was glad to work with my colleagues to introduce this bipartisan legislation, and I’m pleased the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed it unanimously. We will continue working to secure full Senate passage of this important proposal,” said Senator Van Hollen. 

“As the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, I am committed to strengthening democracy, prosperity and peace in Africa,” said Senator Rounds. “The Young African Leaders Initiative was created in 2010 to empower young African leaders to gain the skills and education for the advancement of democratic governance and stability across the continent. Our presence makes certain that we continue building strategic partnerships in the region while deterring influence from our adversaries. I am glad to join Senator Van Hollen to make this initiative permanent and to foster the next generation of African leaders.”

“The State Department’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is critical to our partnership with the countries on the continent of Africa by investing in the next generation of leaders and in our joint future. I want to thank Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch, Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy Chair Chris Van Hollen, and Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy Ranking Member Mike Rounds for their work to advance this piece of legislation. Let’s get this bill to signed into law,” said Representative Bass.  

The text of the bill is available here.