About YouLead Summit

About YouLead Summit

  • YouLead Summit is East Africa’s biggest youth leadership gathering, recognised by the East African Community (EAC), working towards assuring the meaningful involvement of young people in the implementation and tracking of the region’s sustainable development goals. Constituting more than half of the population of East Africa, the young people are the greatest asset for the present and the future of the region and the critical role they play in its development and collective prosperity cannot be overstated.

  • Believing in youth power and recognizing their right to participate in the policy making processes at every level of government, YouLead Summit has created a platform for East African youth to get together and voice out their hopes, needs and opportunities.

  • Each year the summit brings together over 250 young people, youth leaders, mentors, government officials and youth organizations representatives to focus on crafting responses to the challenges faced by the region’s rapidly growing youth population.

  • The annual summit reinforces youth’s contribution to inclusive and equitable development and decision-making processes at country level across various sectors and facilitates cross-country youth networking to accelerate the EAC regional integration.

  • Born in 2017, YouLead Summit has since been co-hosted by Training Centre for Development Cooperation (MS TCDC), the EAC Political Affairs Department and a wide network of partners in East Africa and beyond. YouLead Summit is not just an event, it is a collective journey towards an integrated East Africa where youth harvest daily benefits of a regional village.

  • The summit was planned with potential of scale up and replication across the continent by the African Union through other Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and aims at being East Africa’s flagship Leadership Development Program.


Our History

  • As the largest segment of the population in all EAC State Members, youth can play an important role in the region’s development and collective prosperity. Their part, as a critical section of society, in forging forward EAC political, economic and social integration cannot be overstated. Therefore, there is a growing need for youth to be given opportunities to participate in policy and decision-making processes.

  • Recognizing the need, the East African Community Youth Policy (2016) priority 14 mandates the EAC Secretariat to build networks and partnerships to institute an Annual Youth Leaders’ Forum as a regional platform for youth engagement with the EAC leadership.

  • Believing in the meaningful inclusion of all youth for the development of the region and in line with the EAC Youth Policy, the MS Training Centre for Development Cooperation (MS TCDC) decided to hold an annual youth leadership gathering as a sustainable regional space for youth to engage with the EAC policy makers.

  • Located in Arusha, Tanzania, MS TCDC, has a strong background in capacity strengthening, youth empowerment and development programmes. The Youth Governance Festival (YGF14) in 2014, and the Regional Youth Seminar (RYS16) in 2016, were both held by MSTCDC to amplify youth voices in key regional governance and development processes within the framework of the EAC’s regional integration agenda.

  • Gaining from experiences of the two initiatives and following consultations with stakeholders, MS TCDC established a sustainable regional platform for youth engagement with the EAC leadership “YouLead Summit” in 2017. Jointly co-hosted since then by MS TCDC, the EAC Political Affairs Department and a wide network of partners in East Africa and beyond, the summit has emerged as East Africa’s largest and most popular youth gathering.

  • During the past three years YouLead team and their partners have worked hard to materialize YouLead Summit ambitions.


Our Youth organising approach

Leaving No Youth, and No Country Behind

Our organizing approach is to include as many youth as possible from all the six EAC Member States. To make that approach a reality, the YouLead Secretariat has piloted “National Youth Symposium” - which serves as pre-summit National Consultation Forums. Those youth who cannot attend the regional YouLead summit can use the pre-summit national events to raise the challenges and the issues they face in their respective countries. The outcome of these in-country events will be reviewed and discussed in the regional summit in order to be presented to the to the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

As a post summit agenda, at the end of each summit a "Country Action Plan" for each country and a "Regional Solidarity Action Plan" are developed to be implemented by the YouLead action Network of alumina and their organisations. Through the year they engage in country and regional level interventions until the next summit.









Long Term Ambitions

YouLead team works toward a myriad of broad and long-term ambitions, from which each annual Summit focus is crafted in consultation with the YouLead community of Alumni and Partners.

Ambition 1

Amplify Youth Voices in Key Regional Political Governance Institutions & Processes of the EAC and Accelerate Regional Integration

  • Success 1: An East African Youth Council in place and operational by 2022
  • Success 2: Youth Members of the East African Legislative Assembly nominated by 2022
  • Success 3: A cross border youth leaders exchange program established by 2022

Ambition 2

Build the Capacity and Increase the Number of Youth Leaders Holding Positions of Political and Policy Decision Making Responsibility across the EAC Institutions and Partner States

  • Success 1: Establish an East African Youth Leadership Mentorship Program and a Youth Leadership Fellowship Fund, the first Cohort to be admitted in 2020
  • Success 2: Connect YouLead Alumni with mentors and mentorship opportunities
  • Success 3: YouLead Alumni competing for and holding parliamentary & Cabinet positions
  • Success 4: Establish a YouLeaders Performance Peer Review Conference connecting young political leaders to assess the progress on their commitments, deepen collaboration, and accelerate the regional integration

Ambition 3

Deepen Business and Political Cooperation among young leaders across the EAC Partner States

  • Success 1: Establish frameworks to connect young political and business leaders to enhance their partnerships
  • Success 2: Map and connect East African young peoples’ trade and business networks
  • Success 3: Connect youth entrepreneurs and innovators to venture capital sponsors
  • Success 4: Promote replicable models for joint businesses & social enterprises ventures among young people
  • Success 5: Connect young entrepreneurs and start-up incubators for collaboration
  • Success 6: Facilitate capacity building of youth with business aspirations through constructive and tailored mentorship

The YouLead Consortium