In 2015, Yale University and the Fundación Mujeres por África (Women for African Foundation) launched a leadership development program for senior African women government officials. Made possible by generous support from Banco Santander, the program invites 10-12 highly influential, public service-minded women from 5-6 African countries to Yale each spring for wide-ranging discussions on governance, leadership, and equitable economic development. Equally important, the program is creating a vibrant network of African women leaders who are working to advance the prospects of their nations and their continent.
A flagship of the Yale Africa Initiative, the program aims to enhance the knowledge and skills of women who have already attained positions of importance in African governments in order to amplify their effectiveness and impact. Because countries with greater representation of women in public institutions tend to have lower levels of corruption, efforts leading to an increase in women’s political and economic power across the continent are of inherent value. Over time, this network of empowered African women will have a multiplier effect across the continent, not only among program participants themselves but also among their peers – both men and women – and among the younger generations they mentor.
The program benefits greatly from an intellectual partnership among the Fundación Mujeres por África, the Yale Office of International Affairs, the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, and the Greenberg Yale World Fellows Program. Fundación Mujeres por África President María Teresa Fernández de la Vega Sanz provides indispensable, visionary support.