Statement ahead of Africa Youth Day Celebration 2017


Ladies and gentlemen of the press, thank you for honouring our invitation to our first press conference of the National Youth Authority under the Akufo-Addo government.

We have invited you here because something is happening across the African continent which we as a country need to appreciate in order to understand the local context of our challenges.

The Africa Union has dedicated the next half century to youth development. From 2013 to 2063, the Union is urging member states to put premium on youth development and empowerment, and to keep this objective firmly in the minds of its people. The AU has designated every November 1st as the Africa Youth Day.

These engagements, plans and policies of the AU may sound far-off diplomatic. It may even sound dull to the Ghanaian ear. But the realities in Ghana justify the direction of the AU and must justify and arouse our interest in committing to the direction set out by the AU.

More than 52% of Ghanaians are under the age of 25 years. Imagine this, that out of every 10 citizens you meet, at least five must be under 25 years, and the rest shared amongst age groups from 26 to 65 years.

This is a serious alarm with regards to this single statistic because it means that if we lose the opportunity of empowering these 52% Ghanaians, Ghana will be sitting on a time bomb.

The NYA feels the need to bring this worrying issue to the attention of all leaders in every facet of our society to prioritize youth development - from business leaders, pastors and church workers, imams, teachers and headmasters, the media, traditional rulers, political leaders and civil society.

We are living with a demographic whose neglect is dangerous and whose prosperity is crucial to nation building. It is not an Akufo-Addo demographic, it is not a NPP demographic, it is a Ghanaian demographic requiring the impassioned contribution from all those who lead.

The route which Ghana has agreed with the AU to take in order to extract the full potential of the youth is entrepreneurship, education and skills development, health as well as rights, governance and democracy.

The place of entrepreneurship as the path for youth development is now obvious to us as a country. The government’s plan to create jobs is a private sector plan and a private sector plan is an entrepreneurship plan. There is $100m with the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP) for any ordinary youth with motivation to access for youth entrepreneurship. 

This plan can be emulated by religious organizations and corporate Ghana - create funds and mentoring opportunities for the youth to do business.

It is on this note that we urge young people causing disturbances and public tension at Youth Employment Agency offices, School Feeding facilities, NADMO and District Assembly offices to read the game instead of invading the pitch. Seize the moment instead of seizing office keys and unlock their potential instead of locking padlocks.

Vigilance at the polls must not translate into vigilantism in power. There is enough room for democratic engagement to discourage all aggression.

Get a business plan and build a business path, it is time to translate political energies to entrepreneurial drives. The government is ready to support you and every other Ghanaian in your endeavors.

This November 1st, the Africa Youth Day is on the theme ' harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in the Youth'.

To mark the occasion, some selected NYA regional secretariats will organize activities meant to drive home a sense of responsibility in the youth of this country. The theme calls us to salute the efforts of persons and programmes seeking to achieve the goals of youth development.

We, at the NYA, salute every young Ghanaian who is making a positive effort to enhance his/her self, who is working his sock off to realize a dream. 

We salute young entrepreneurs still soldiering on patiently, confident of a big break.

We salute those into encouraging good governance and democracy and in this path, we salute the Church of Pentecost for establishing the Political Chamber to train youth to appreciate the processes of governance through programs like its Youth Parliament.

We salute those professionals helping to achieve the AU pillar of improving health and well-being.

And to the more than 450,000 accessing free education, to those 52% under 25 years, know and understand that the future is yours.

Thank you and May God bless Ghana and us all.




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