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Young African Leaders Programme

Programme Start Date





Palazzo Buontalenti

Applications are closed.

Eligibility Criteria

The fellowship is open to mid-career professionals and executives under the age of 35 at the start of the programme on 1 September 2023. Women and people with disabilities will exceptionally be considered up to the age of 40 on 1 September 2023.

Applicants need to be African nationals residing in Africa.

Age, gender and disabilities

  • The fellowship is open to mid-career professionals and executives under the age of 35 at the start of the programme on 1 September 2023.
  • Women and people with disabilities will exceptionally be considered up to the age of 40 on 1 September 2023.
  • Women and people living with disabilities will be given priority in the selection process. Applicants with disabilities need to submit a medical certificate via [email protected] (this email address should only be used for submission of medical certificates), as per EUI policy on Disability and specific educational needs policy. This information will be treated confidentially to apply the flexible age criteria in the selection process. It will be deleted after the selection procedure.


  • Applicants must be fluent in written and spoken English. English language proficiency is required for applicants for whom English is not their first language. The expected level of English proficiency is level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).
  • An English certificate is not requested as part of the application, but successful candidates may be invited for an interview in English and requested to provide a certificate/supporting document on registration. This can be one of the international certificates listed below, or another supporting document showing that the candidate’s level of English is sufficient for using it as a working language (for example, a certificate of attendance of English language schools, a degree in English as a foreign language, a proof of work in an English-speaking environment). Native English speakers are exempt of proof.
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)*
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
    • Cambridge English Examinations (CAE)
    • Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)
    • Business English Certificate (BEC)

*including special TOEFL Home Edition Test, for candidates who are unable to take the test at a test centre due to public health concerns.

Work experience

  • We are looking for mid-career, high potential policymakers, diplomats, and professionals from Africa, working in national and local authorities, regional, continental, international organisations and development partners, civil society organisations, academia, media and private sector, in Africa
  • Potential beneficiaries should have at least seven years of relevant work experience.

Nationality and residence

Applicants need to be African nationals residing in Africa.

Education and field

Applicants must hold a master’s degree or higher qualification at the time of applying for the programme. They should be committed to contribute to strategic themes and policy areas relevant to transnational governance. These include climate change and resilience, gender empowerment, cross-border economic and resource governance, diplomacy, digital politics, trade and investment, education, science and technology, skill development, migration and mobility, humanitarian disasters such as pandemics, regional integration and regional governance, democracy and human rights, peace and security. These areas are crucial to deliver sustainable and locally-owned development in African countries, as well as to contribute to the effective implementation of the Africa-EU partnership, the African Union’s Agenda 2063, African Continental Free Trade Area, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Have a look at STG programmes and initiatives on topics related to governance beyond the state.

Evaluation criteria

Evaluators will analyse following criteria

  • Statement of purpose
  • Work experience
  • Education

Additional criteria:

Additional considerations

  • The EUI-STG is an equal opportunity environment committed to inclusion and diversity. All fellowships are decided on the basis of qualifications, motivations and merit.
  • Women are encouraged to apply.
  • Persons living with a disability are encouraged to apply. The EUI is committed to providing equitable and inclusive conditions for all candidates and is keen to attract, encourage and retain a diverse and highly qualified community of scholars.
  • Applicants must show keen interest in developing their skills in: (i) strategic planning and execution; (ii) negotiation and change management; (iii) policy formulation, and development implementation of new strategies and procedures; (iv) ability to communicate and interact with officials at all levels of governance and to work effectively with a wide range of constituencies in a diverse community; (v) research/analytical work in relevant areas of transnational governance and policymaking; (vi) working on multilateral, regional or continental African issues.
  • Applicants must be self-motivated and able to present a clear “statement of purpose” for the fellowship to show what the applicant will achieve and how this work will improve transnational governance and leadership in their respective areas of work also in relation with the Africa-EU partnership upon completion of the programme, also considering gender mainstreaming and inclusiveness (see below). Participants are also expected to actively engage the EUI community and its activities including discussions on topics of interest. Please see the “requested documents” under the 'information for applicants' for more information on the statement of purpose.
  • The programme expressly aims at ensuring a balanced mix of participants in terms of gender, geographical and national origins, countries’ fragility levels so as to represent the diversity of Africa and provide opportunities to less-advantaged applicants and ensure equity in national and regional representation. Applicants’ past experience, professional backgrounds and the mandate of the institutions they work for will also be taken into account. Applicants from countries that were not included in the programme cohort 2021 and cohort 2022 (see more information on the nationality of previous cohorts) will be given a favorable assessment to ensure geographical balance among the five regions of Africa.
  • In particular, the programme promotion and selection process will be gender-sensitive with the aim to ensure at least 50% of the fellows will be female. Moreover, the training will cover gender equality and empowerment.
  • Special attention will be paid to environmental protection and climate change in collaboration with the specialised EIB Chair on Climate Change at the STG.
  • The programme will foster a unique network across generations, continents, and cultures, aimed at connecting, empowering and inspiring rising leaders and professionals and stimulating intergenerational dialogue, while promoting a strong sense of commitment to social, economic, and development issues facing their communities in particular and the world in general.

  • In the 2023-2024 academic year, the STG plans to allocate approximately 30 fellowships within the Young African Leaders Programme. All the applications are reviewed as long as they are submitted on time using the online platform. The EU will be part of the selection process.
  • In the first step of the selection procedure, all applications are reviewed based on how well they match the application criteria.
  • In the second step of the selection procedure, the selection committee members provide a list of recommended applicants for the fellowship. The committee discusses the merit of the individual applications and also takes into account the match between the perceived needs of the given candidate and the opportunities the programme offers. In selecting potential beneficiaries, the selection committee will also pay particular attention to gender balance, fair presence of the different categories of actors (authorities, civil society, international organisations, etc.), as well as representativeness across sub-regional geographical areas in Africa. It will also look at creating opportunities to young emerging leaders in Africa who have not joined similar programmes in the past.
  • The result is a mutually agreed short list and a reserve list to be presented to the EUI Executive Committee for its consideration. Their decision is final, and no appeal is possible.
  • The STG is not in the position to give advice on individual applications or to give feedback about the applications. Applicants cannot contact the decisionmakers in this process. The application deadline for the 2023-2024 fellowship is 22 February 2023 at 15:00 Italian time (CET). No extensions will be granted, and late applications will not be accepted. The final decision is communicated to the applicants within four months of the application deadline by the Academic Service of the EUI.
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