At the FOREFRONT of YOUTH DEVELOPMENT, since 1974

 

The National Youth Authority has expressed shock at the brazen sale of young Africans into slavery in Libya.

"It is a revulsing return to 15th century slavery at a time when our common humanity and dignity is a universal human right", the NYA said in a statement.

The NYA says the revelations must be used as the tipping point in the fight against human trafficking and exploitation of Africans.

The world is waking up the shocking practice in which hundreds of people are being auctioned in modern day slave markets in Libya for as little as $400.

Libya is the main transit hub for refugees and migrants attempting to reach southern Europe by sea. They are coming from countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Eritrea, Guinea, Ivory Coast,, Gambia, Senegal, Sudan and Somalia.

The power vacuum in Libya after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi has made human trafficking and people smuggling a booming trade.

France has requested an "urgent" meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss this treatment of migrants in Libya.

The Foreign ministry has said three Ghanaians have reported that they were sold in Libya as slaves.

Joining in the national conversation, the NYA said the trade while condemnable is a signal to African governments to the huge responsibility it has to create jobs and give hope to millions on the continent.

It urged ECOWAS and the African Union to intervene in the migration crisis and quicken its dialogue the European Union to combat human trafficking

The National Youth Authority said whiles it recognised that unemployment is the main motive for migration, the levels of desperation in recent times calls for short-term solutions.

The Authority said it would be embarking on an aggressive campaign to discourage desperate young people from traveling on what has been described as the most desperate journey on earth.

The NYA believes religious leaders can play a very powerful role in dissuading the youth from joining other African nationals to Libya.

"The pulpit and the mosque are places where an extraordinary power of motivation  can be leveraged to provide hope to the desperate", a statement said.

The NYA urged Ghanaian youth to channel their "Go-to-Europe-against-all-odds" desire into opportunities in agriculture.

The Authority said the returns on farming is good enough to capture the attention of young people.

"There is the Planting for Food and Jobs programme ready to embrace any determined young Ghanaian who wants to farm", the statement indicated.

We must all be feeling the pressure and the privilege of working in roles that impact youth development. The world now has the largest generation of young people in history with 1.8bn aged between 15 and 29. If we open the youth bracket as we have done in Ghana to include ages 30 to 35 years, the world youth population would be more than 2.1bn. 

So while we sit in this room as policy-makers, change agents and influencers, we must not forget the one invisible participant in this meeting - history. History is in this room to record steps we plan to take to accelerate and implement a youth policy that becomes a national factory for transforming youth potential into finished products of empowerment. That is why I feel the weight of expectation as the CEO of the National Youth Authority at this time of Ghana's development.  

The NYA presides over a frightening youth demographic in which more than 57% of Ghanaians are under 25 years. But we have an underwhelming national youth policy that is outdated and overrun by severe and serious global changes not to talk of the technological speed train. 

The current youth policy is a 27-page document outdoored in 2010 with no implementation plan until the year 2014. A Policy without an implementation plan certainly is akin to a packed passengers of an airplane without a pilot. Even more worse, is that the 2010 youth policy was based on a demographic data provided in the year 2000 census. Imagine this, youth population was then 33% of the entire population of Ghana. Today it is clocking 60% of the population.

So here we are in 2017 needing a youth policy that is urgent, updated, inclusive, visionary and more importantly executable. To adapt President Akufo-Addo's words, "we are an Authority in a hurry". We need a youth policy that takes into consideration the AU's Agenda 2063 plan to dedicate 50 years to empower African youth.

We need a youth policy that is in sync with the SDGs of which 8 out of the 17 goals directly affect the youth. And we need a youth policy that captures the agitated desire of Ghana's youth to see leadership leverage political will to solving the challenges of our time.

This is why the National Youth Authority would soon begin a national collation of ideas to improve the current youth policy. We want to consult both the grassroot and boardrooms to gather perspectives from the passionate.

We would touch base with representatives of the 216 districts guided by international standards for designing youth policies. We hope our interactions will whip up fresh passion from our constituents to build a Ghana rededicated to the founding ideals of volunteerism, strong work ethics, self-reliance and patriotism.

We are in a make or break season as youth leaders and workers. What we aim at is to write our names in the rocks of Ghana's history books and not for our inaction to get us write it in erasable sands of time. I choose rocks and I believe you would stand with the NYA to also choose rocks.

 

Thank you and I promise on my honour to be faithful and loyal to Ghana my motherland. God bless Ghana, God bless us all. 

 

 

The National Youth Authority under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth and Sports has initiated steps towards the Review of the National Youth Policy of Ghana which was formulated August 2010.

For the purpose of updating the Policy to meet current issues of youth development vis-à-vis social, economic, cultural and political imperatives, the Authority is holding an information sharing session on November, 23, 2017 at Ellking Hotel, East Legon, Accra at 10:00am prompt.

Expected at this meeting are Stakeholders including the International Development Partners, Political Parties and Key Youth Groups.

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