Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II, the Omanhen of Cape Coast and the President of the Oguaa Traditional Council has called on African leaders to create a constant avenue to prepare young people for governance and leadership.
He said that the potential for Africa to change lies in its young people, hence the need to tap into the energy and vitality of the growing youthful population to help the continent prosper.
Addressing delegates at a youth durbar organised by the African Youth and Governance Convergence (AYGC) in commemoration of International Youth Day with the National Youth Authority (NYA) and the Paramount Chieftaincy at the Emintsimadze Palace, the Omanhen said the youth are key to strengthening Africa’s future and it is time that leaders took a critical look at the educational systems and make it inclusive and accessible to the youth.
“The youth are the key to our continent’s growth, and they should be invested in by giving them good and quality education as well as creating opportunities for them to develop their skills,” he said.
He also called on the youth “to influence change and transform their imagination, throw away whatever they have known in the past and fill their minds with new ideas towards the development of Africa.”
The theme for International Youth Day 2019 is “Transforming Education”, highlighting efforts to make education more inclusive and accessible for all youth.
Goal 4 of the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development promises to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
The importance of quality education in youth development is well known. However, a number of youth are dropping out of schools and colleges these days. To promote education and encourage taking up studies, the United Nations is taking the necessary steps.
Also speaking on this year’s International Youth Day theme, Emmanuel Sin-nyet Asigri, CEO of the National Youth Authority, noted that it comes as no surprise that education and skills development have taken centre-stage during this year’s International Youth Day Celebration. “The reason is simple: nowhere is the focus on strengthening the youth’s knowledge and skills more critical than in Africa,” he said.
He said the theme emphasizes the critical need to pool resources for young people to transform the continent and strive toward Africa’s aspirations.
“As a government, we have areas which we are focusing on and for that matter, we are looking at this especially with the vision of the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo for the educational sector to grow.
“We have programs that we care for people who have dropped out of school, not because the opportunity isn’t there but because of where their interest lies. Aside from the double-track system that has been hailed by Ghanaians, we still have young people who have not been reached to get their share of the free education,” he said.
“It is our hope that beyond Free SHS we will have the Informal Skills Acquisition and Building programme that compliments what other people want to do for themselves; because we have individuals who don’t want to sit in the classroom to develop themselves, but want to develop their skills informally,” he added.
The eleventh African Youth and Governance Convergence (AYGC) was initiated and convened by Youth Bridge Foundation (YBF) and accredited with the United Nations Economic and Social Council Special Consultative Status.
It brought together about 140 youth (120 delegates and 20 Committee Chair-Persons) from 32 African countries and Diaspora (Canada, USA, Europe). The event included high profile speakers and topic experts as coaches to facilitate sessions which included plenary sessions, concurrent sessions, workshops for project pitching, an exhibition and Dialogue zone.