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Building the African economy: Is President Obama’s entrepreneurial public management program sustainable in Africa?

Ademola A. Adenle (Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA) (University of Oxford, Oxford, UK) (United Nations University-Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan)

Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy

ISSN: 2045-2101

Article publication date: 10 April 2017




The purpose of this paper is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the President Obama Youth African Leadership Initiative (YALI) program with evidence from experts and other relevant stakeholders. This study examines YALI program with a focus on entrepreneurship and public management.


Qualitative semi-structured interviews used in this study explore the understanding and diverse views of various stakeholder experts on training of young leaders in entrepreneurship and public management in Africa regarding the YALI program.


The study provides insight into the importance of the YALI program, but questions whether it can make a positive impact and be effectively implemented in Africa. The findings suggest that there is lack of clarity in the objectives of the program, particularly with regards to the role of the key stakeholders including academics, government institutions, policymakers and the private sector. The results underscore the need for sound and clear-cut government policies toward entrepreneurship development that will foster a better relationship between the African governments and the United States Agency for International Development program.

Research limitations/implications

The study focused on academic experts and a number of policymakers and may not have been representative of all stakeholders.


The study specifically emphasizes policies that target entrepreneurship training and education for women and youth, using a participatory approach and multi-stakeholder partnership to promote innovative entrepreneurship and social development in the continent.



All interview participants are gratefully acknowledged for their valuable time and contributions. The author is also grateful to Christen Malaidza for transcribing the interviews and Ms Jessica Leigh for editing the manuscript. Special thanks to Professor Kelly Martin, Professor DeTienne Dawn (Colorado State University, USA) and Professor Colin Mason (University of Glasgow, UK) for helpful review, correction and constructive comments on earlier version of the manuscript. Part of this work was submitted for the award of Master of Public Policy at the University of Oxford, UK. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of the CSU, University of Oxford, UNU-IAS and organizations that participated in the study. The research work was conceived and designed at the United Nations University-Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan.


Adenle, A.A. (2017), "Building the African economy: Is President Obama’s entrepreneurial public management program sustainable in Africa?", Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 92-107.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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