• "Ghana has already embarked on this essential capacity development of her youth."
• Madam Botchwey stated that it was reassuring that Africa started taking steps to reduce aid dependency.
• "However, we are mindful of the challenges ahead of the promising journey we have embarked upon," the Minister added.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has said attaining an Africa Beyond Aid agenda will require investment in the continent's youth.
She has, therefore, called on African countries to pay more attention to the empowerment of the youth to facilitate the development of the continent.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Africa 2019 annual meeting in Accra last Thursday, she said global population projections showed that between now and 2050, the biggest population expansion would occur in Africa.
"ALREADY, WE HAVE A LARGE SHARE OF THE WORLD'S YOUTHFUL POPULATION. THIS COULD MEAN ECONOMIC POWER FOR US (AFRICA), BUT ONLY ON CONDITION THAT WE ARE ABLE TO STRATEGICALLY POSITION THE CONTINENT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS HUMAN RESOURCE ENDOWMENT FOR DEVELOPMENT,"
"Already, we have a large share of the world's youthful population. This could mean economic power for us (Africa), but only on condition that we are able to strategically position the continent to take advantage of this human resource endowment for development," the minister added.
The meeting formed part of the UNDP’s strategic offer for Africa, which included engaging African leaders and influencers to drive sustainable development across the continent.
As part of the partnership strategy, UNDP recently launched the African Influencers for Development (AID) initiative at the 74th UN General Assembly in New York.
The initiative brought together a coalition of current and future African leaders in business, academia and the arts on a platform to help Africa steer its own development agenda.
The Accra meeting was aimed at supporting thought leadership about Africa’s development towards a self-sustaining future, focusing on ‘Africa Beyond Aid’ to provide intellectual and analytical insights for the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Resource Centre; raise visibility and create momentum about Africa's vision for future prosperity, and also foster new partnerships and allies for Africa's transformation agenda.
Role of education
Ms Botchwey said the provision of quality education should remain a key priority for African countries to equip the youth to contribute meaningfully to the continent’s growth through innovations.
"Ghana has already embarked on this essential capacity development of her youth," she said, citing the government’s Free Senior High School (SHS) policy as an example.
"The government, through this programme, is ensuring that more than 400,000 Ghanaian children have equal chance of receiving secondary education,” the minister added.
Ms Botchwey said it was also reassuring that Africa had started taking steps to reduce aid dependency, “however, we are mindful of the challenges ahead of the promising journey we have embarked upon”.
She said even though it task seemed formidable, it was achievable, while cautioning that “we will not be successful in this enterprise if we adopt a business-as-usual approach to doing things”.
On the coming into force of the AfCFTA, the minister said: “It represents a huge potential for intra-Africa trade. It will reinforce local production, address the challenges of small fragmented markets in Africa by the creation of a single continental market, develop regional value chains and cross-border investment, and also improve the terms of trade for Africa among other benefits.”
The UNDP Regional Director for Africa, who was the Chief Organiser of the Dialogue, Ms Ahunna Eziakonwa, described the meeting as successful.
She congratulated the participants on their input and expressed the hope that the outcome of the meeting would impact positively on Africa.
Credit to Source: Daily Graphic