Kenyans account for almost 10 percent of the 500 young Africans chosen to take part in a leadership summit in Washington hosted by President Barack Obama.
A group meeting on Monday with the US head of state opens a three-day series of events that includes a discussion with First Lady Michelle Obama on girls' education in Africa.
Secretary of State John Kerry, members of the US Congress and other government officials are also making presentations at an event that caps the six-week-long Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) sponsored by the State Department.
President Obama launched the YALI programme in 2010 as a way of helping groom Africa's future leaders while seeking to ensure they propagate positive views of the United States.
The 500 participants in this year's initiative, including 46 Kenyans, were chosen from 50,000 applicants from all over Africa. “That says to us that there is a huge, huge need” for the opportunities offered through the programme, observed Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the State Department's top Africa official.
Half of those in the initiative's current cohort are women, and all participants are between the ages of 25 and 35. Each of sub-Saharan Africa's 49 countries is represented in the group.
Magdalene Kelel, a project leader in the Free Pentecostal Fellowship in Kenya, was chosen for her work on HIV/Aids, youth advocacy and women's self-reliance. When she returns to Kenya, Ms Kelel plans to work on promoting young persons' involvement in democratic processes, according to the YALI website.
Like each of the other YALI participants, Ms Kelel was awarded a fellowship to study either business development, civic leadership or public management at one of 20 US universities during the past six weeks.
Some of the young Africans will be invited to remain in the US for an additional eight weeks to complete internships at businesses, government agencies or non-governmental organisations.
A total of $10 million will also be made available in the form of grants to help the initiative's alumni start their own businesses or social enterprises in Africa and to build a network of young African leaders.
Source: Africa Review