July 29, 2021

Van Hollen, Rounds Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen U.S. Partnership with African Nations

Today, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, introduced the bipartisan Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Act of 2021. This legislation, initially introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Karen Bass, would make permanent the State Department’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The House of Representatives passed this legislation on April 20, 2021. Codifying YALI has also received bipartisan support in the Senate, having passed within the United States Innovation and Competition Act earlier this year.

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, supports American values, and expands 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’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill in the Senate and will be working in my role on the Foreign Relations Committee, and the Africa and Global Health Policy Subcommittee, to see it through,” 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.”

“Already, President Biden has signaled to the world his support for strengthening our partnership with the continent of Africa and the countries there,” said Congressmember Bass. “The Young African Leaders Initiative flourished under President Obama and Vice President Biden. I commend my colleagues here in the House for passing this important bill to solidify our embrace of the future of the continent and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to get this bill to President Biden’s desk.”

The text of the bill is available here.