A Network of African Business Influencers, Minted in Atlanta

Planning manager Jason Mile provides the Mandela Fellows with an overview of operations and planning initiatives at the airport. Photo: Trevor Williams

The Mandela Washington Fellows who visited Atlanta for six weeks in June and July were emphatically positive about the leadership program that brought them across the Atlantic.

The U.S. State Department’s Young African Leaders Initiative touched down in the city for the sixth straight year, once again bringing cohorts of 25 leaders each to three Atlanta universities. These 75 were the cream of the crop in the continent’s startup, civic and nonprofit scenes. Only 700 participants were chosen out of 38,000-plus applications.

But for all their immersion with the local community — from volunteering to hand out water at the Peachtree Road Race to business meetings at AGCO Corp., IBM, UPS, Coca-Cola Co. and even Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms‘ office — one of the aspects these young luminaries valued most was the ability to interact with each other. Continue reading…

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