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U.S. invites two Zimbabweans for Young African Leaders Innovation Summit

U.S. invites two Zimbabweans for Young African Leaders Innovation Summit

PAS Harare

Simbarashe and Limbikani

Harare, June 8, 2012: Two Zimbabwean youth entrepreneurs - Simbarashe Mhungu and Limbikani Makani - will travel to the United States as part of the U.S. President’s Young African Leaders Initiative.  They will attend the 2012 Innovation Summit and undergo a two-week professional development program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State in collaboration with implementing partner, Meridian International Center.

Mhungu (32) is founder and managing director of Harvest Fresh, an indigenous company specializing in agribusiness and food processing. The former Victoria Falls Safari Lodge trainee received his undergraduate business degree from Howard University, Washington, D.C., and worked in the U.S. for Goldman Sachs and The Walt Disney Company.

Makani (31) is founder and managing editor of Technology Zimbabwe ( ) and holds a national diploma in Information Technology. Since its establishment, TechZim has become a leading voice on technology issues in Zimbabwe and a main promoter of local technology creation and venture capital investment.

“The two were chosen for their track record of using innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit to create positive change in society.  This program should give them ideas and contacts to help boost them to the next level of indigenous business achievement,” said Sharon Hudson-Dean, Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Harare. “Their three-week mentorships in the U.S. will provide a first-hand look at American workplaces and the latest thinking on successful management and enterprise growth,” said Hudson-Dean.

The two Zimbabwean entrepreneurs will meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and 58 other young African leaders June 14-15 at an Innovation Summit featuring high-profile business leaders, inspirational speakers, and international and civil society activists. The event will provide practical break-out sessions and networking opportunities for participants, as well as complementary events for youth-to-youth encounters, leadership development, and training in new technologies. After the two-day event, participants will travel to business internships in various states in the U.S. where they will spend time as interns with U.S. companies and non-profit organizations.

The 2012 U.S. President’s Young African Leaders Initiative, which began with President Obama’s Forum with Young African Leaders in 2010, has included more than 2,000 U.S government-sponsored programs for young leaders across Sub-Saharan Africa, including the First Lady’s Young African Women Leaders Forum in South Africa (June 2011).  Two to three Zimbabwean participants have attended all of the major events and distinguished themselves as thought-leaders on the continent.  These youth-focused gatherings are part of the Obama Administration’s long-term program to engage Africa’s young leaders who are actively promoting positive change in their communities.

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Comments and queries should be addressed to Sharon Hudson-Dean, Counselor for Public Affairs. E-mail:  Tel. +263 4 758800-1, Fax: 758802.

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