Youth programmes aim at developing their potentials – Antwi-Danso

Dr. V. Antwi-Danso

Dr Vladimir Antwi-Danso, a Senior Research Fellow at Legon Centre for International Affairs, (LECIA) University of Ghana has urged the government to draw a comprehensive programme that would empower the youth to develop their potentials.

He noted that empowerment of the youth in Africa had been focused wrongly and the leaders only pay lip-service to youth empowerment thus the creation of mass unemployed and unemployable youth in the country.

“Empowering the youth is about re-tooling them through proper education, sustainable decent employment, encouraging participation in the governance processes, and instituting programmes to unearth their potentials,” he added.

Dr Antwi-Danso made the call at the quarterly Youth Colloquium of Curious Minds, a local youth development organisation in broadcasting in Accra.

It was established to facilitate open dialogue between young people and stakeholders.

The colloquium was on the theme: “Accelerating Youth Empowerment for a Sustainable Development.”

He said young people between 15-24 years make up 18 per cent of the world’s population of which 87 per cent lived in developing countries.

Dr Antwi-Danso said the youth make up 40 per cent of Africa’s working age population and about 60 per cent of them were unemployed adding, “The share of unemployed youth among them can be as high as 83 per cent in Uganda, 68 per cent in Zimbabwe, and 56 per cent in Burkina Faso.”

“For most African countries, many challenges of youth employment are amplified by conflicts and discrimination based on sex, ethnicity, race, religion, culture, health, or family status,” he said.

Dr Antwi-Danso said the African Development Indicator (ADI) recommended a multi-sectoral approach by governments and international agencies to address the issue of youth empowerment.

He said some of the recommendations included expanding jobs and education in rural areas, building a support environment for entrepreneurship, expanding access to and improving the quality of training opportunities and addressing demographic issues.

Dr Antwi-Danso said Africa’s three greatest needs were democracy, stability, and development and what glued them together firmly was youth empowerment.

He said democracy would ensure stability, upon which development might be forthcoming and the type of development to be achieved by any country was basically linked with the stability generated by the viability of the democratic practice of which the youth being the custodians of the process.

Dr Antwi-Danso noted that good governance involved the presence of democracy with good and visionary leaders, probity and accountability, dialogue and transparency, provision of basic needs of the people and adherence to global best practices.

Dr Kodzo K. Alabo, Director for Africa and Regional Integration Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, said the theme for the colloquium was timely and would enable leaders to come out with actionable decisions and strategies to empower the youth for sustainable development.

He said since the African Youth Charter came into force, some African countries had passed National Youth Policies aimed at promoting employment, setting up social protection schemes and youth funds.

Dr Alabo said Ghana passed its National Youth Policy in August 2010 on the theme: “Towards an Empowered Youth, Impacting Positively on National Development”.

He said the theme was to serve as framework to government in engaging the youth and other stakeholders in developing appropriate interventions and services for youth empowerment.

Dr Alabo noted that empowering the youth involved the creation of a congenial environment for equipping them with knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and ethics that were imperative to national development.

“It also involved the process of preparing the young people to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood through series of activities and experiences to motivate them to become socially, morally, emotionally, physically, economically independent and cognitively competent,” he added.

Dr Alabo stressed that the most effective way of ensuring the country’s success was through the engagement and involvement of the youth.

Source: GNA

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