How YALI Africa Alumni Marketplace Put Together A Groundbreaking Event in 10 days!

What is YALI Africa? 

Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) was launched by the United States of America Government as a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African business and social enterprise. YALI has four Regional Leadership Centers (RLCs) located in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Senegal, offering training throughout the year. The RLCs provide leadership capacity-building programs for young people across the continent. They work to equip young Africans with essential skills so they can be a driving force for change in their communities, countries and eventually the entire African continent. RLCs have trained over 20,000 alumni across Africa to date. yali africa logo

YALI Africa signifies the next chapter in the evolution of the 4 Regional Leadership Centers and seeks to harness their collective power to develop the Centers into long-standing, sustainable institutions.

YALI Africa’s Challenges & Objectives 

With a lead time of 10 days to organize and host YALI Africa Alumni Marketplace, they wanted to showcase their top-performing alumni and the valuable work their students are currently doing. 

Another challenge was to bring together their audience spread across the entire continent. Not easy when you have COVID-19 on the loose right? 

Thus, a virtual event was the only viable option. Amid these challenges, there were a few objectives that the team was focused on. 


  • Showcase their top-performing alumni and their work to private sector industries
  • Allow their alumni to network and create meaningful connections
  • Connect private employers and organizations with alumni and provide a space to collaborate
  • Seek funding from organizations from the private sector besides USAID

To achieve these objectives, YALI Africa in collaboration with vFairs put together a virtual event space that allowed alumni to showcase their work and network with incoming industries and employers. All this was created in an immersive life-like environment that instantly hooked in their audience from the start. 

YALI Africa Alumni Marketplace Event

With only 10 days to turn the event around, vFairs designed a customized event for YALI Africa Alumni Marketplace. They highlighted the sponsors and exhibitors through customization and made it an informative, enjoyable experience for the attendees. The team at YALI Africa was very happy with how the event turned out and was full of praise.

“We had limited time to push the process through – less than two weeks. We are very fortunate to have the support provided which ensured that we were able to have a successful event despite major challenges” – Harry Ntombela, the Director for YALI RLC Southern Africa.

Yali Alumni Marketplace Event Details 

Eye-Catching Visually Rich Virtual Venue

The lobby offered a welcome message video and then directly took attendees to a stellar view of the virtual event venue. It was an immersive virtual experience for the attendees and had animated avatars featuring the various ethnicities of the African continent. This gave a hyper-realistic feel to the event. 

According to YALI Africa, the personalized avatars were a winning feature and very popular amongst the attendees.  They said that the “custom avatars were a huge winning feature in drawing eyes to the event.”

YALI Africa Alumni Marketplace Lobby

Fully Branded Exhibit Booths 

Yali Africa Alumni Marketplace featured a customized exhibit hall with 40 different exhibitor booths. They all featured the logos and banners of the exhibitors and had personalized avatars as representatives.

YALI Africa Alumni Marketplace Booths

These booths were an excellent source of knowledge and marketing for the exhibitors. They got to interact with the alumni and promote their businesses. The stunning, interactive and easily navigable virtual exhibit halls were a winning feature of the virtual event.

Endless Networking Opportunities 

YALI Africa wanted to ensure that their alumni get ample space to network – in fact, networking was one of the key goals of the event. The networking tab featured many chat rooms. There was one for general discussion, which allowed attendees to introduce themselves and talk about how they could innovatively respond to Africa’s challenges. 

There were designated chat rooms for each exhibitor. This allowed attendees to get more in-depth knowledge about the services. It was also a great way to learn more about various opportunities for collaboration.

Interactive Sessions in the Virtual Auditorium

YALI Africa hosted interactive webinars that the students and alumni could resonate with and also stay hooked to. For this, they had a series of live webinars to host educational sessions for their alumni. The event was available in three different languages: English, French and Portuguese. They had all live webinar sessions.

YALI Africa Alumni Marketplace Auditorium

Why vFairs?

vFairs has a great track record of delivering exceptional events with a fast turnaround time. This in addition to their stunning visuals and 3D graphics was an instant seller for the YALI Africa Alumni Marketplace event! They roped vFairs in and got started right away.  

Additionally, vFairs delivered and met their expectations with impeccable customer service in tow. This ensured 24/7 live support to assist YALI Africa in any way possible. This was exactly what the need of the hour was for them.


Here is what Harry Ntombela, the Director for YALI RLC Southern Africa, had to say:

“We have huge appreciation in terms of the sacrifices that this team made to make sure that we had a successful event, meaning that they were available 24/7.”

Despite the shortage of time, they were able to register an impressive number of 1500 attendees. This was remarkable considering registration opened only five days before the actual event.

They received overwhelmingly positive feedback from their attendees and exhibitors. The attendees said that the event was easy to navigate and the exhibitors found that the setup was very easy and exciting.

They are ready and charged to hold another event in 2022.

To learn more about the features vFairs offers for alumni networking fairs, click here.

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How YALI Africa Alumni Marketplace Put Together A Groundbreaking Event in 10 days!

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