On Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 10am, the Youth Bridge Foundation (YBF) will launch a policy brief on “Youth Development in Ghana: The Debate over the Decoupling of the Ministry of Youth and Sports”. The ceremony will be held at the Conference Room, Youth Bridge Foundation, 14 Iris Street, East Legon (Accra). The chair and discussant is Prof. Joseph R.A. Ayee.

The policy brief is the outcome of a dialogue between youth stakeholders held in the first week of December last year at which the then Minister of Youth and Sports, Major Dr Alhaji Mustapha Ahmed (rtd.) (MP) was one of the speakers.

The policy brief contributes to the debate over whether the decoupling of the Ministry of Youth and Sports will significantly advance the cause of youth development in Ghana. While some people have argued for the retention and strengthening of the current Ministry of Youth and Sports; others have argued on the contrary, that is, the decoupling of the current Ministry of Youth and Sports and the creation of a separate Ministry of Youth. The policy brief, which is divided into five parts, defines the concept of decoupling and identifies the international best practice for the creation of the Ministry of Youth and Sports and examples of decoupling in some ministries in Ghana. It also provides arguments for and against the decoupling of the Ministry of Youth and Sports and highlights the way forward.

A key lesson that the policy brief emphasizes is that the debate over the decoupling of the Ministry of Youth and Sports is inconclusive, and therefore there are no winners and losers – a healthy development which has the potential of promoting and enhancing youth empowerment.

The launch of the policy brief may be seen as a good omen for youth empowerment particularly in an election year. It is instructive to note that the youth constitute about 58% of the Ghanaian voter population. Consequently, the youth have the potential to make and unmake a government through their voting power. Accordingly, investing in youth development must be the preoccupation of all the political parties in this 2016 election year and should therefore be part of their campaign message and manifestos. Using the youth as foot-soldiers and inducing them to engage in violence is not part of investing in them. Rather genuine investment in youth development involves concrete and continuing strategies and programmes to provide quality education and employment to empower the youth for patriotic and responsible citizenship. This may entail a thorough self-introspection by all the political parties on the vision, mission and organization of their youth wings and what they will do for the youth when they either retain power or come to power as well as making great strides in the implementation of the National Youth Policy, which was launched in 2010. In a nutshell, then, investing in youth development must be a key election issue which all the political parties must seriously consider and address. If this really happens, then it may be possible to regard the 2016 election as one of the landmarks in promoting an agenda on youth development in Ghana.

CONTACT: Seth Oteng, Executive Director,  Tel.: 024-3229505