African youth urged to lead change on continent

BY: Ama Amankwah Baafi
Kwame Antwi Agyei Opoku (2nd from left) a futurist, interacting with other speakers after his presentation
Kwame Antwi Agyei Opoku (2nd from left) a futurist, interacting with other speakers after his presentation

A futurist, Kwame Antwi Agyei Opoku, has charged the youth in Africa to lead the change that they want to see on the continent.

With the continent’s population highly dominated by the youth, he said it was time for the youth to take up leadership positions and help provide solutions for the numerous challenges on the continent.

Mr Opoku said this at the maiden ‘Income, Impact and Influence’ conference held at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), under the auspices of Access Bank Limited.

He reiterated that the continent needed, at this moment, opportunities not aid, therefore, urging those in power to create windows of opportunities.

The Futurist also called on the youth to also position themselves to take advantage of these opportunities.

“Those in places of power need to stop playing political games and begin to appoint people for their competencies and not necessarily their political affiliation.

“We need to open doors for people who do not have a step in those doors but deserve it. We need to start listening to people for the content of their heads and not how they appear,” he said.

Youth Innovation

Mr Opoku said it was about time the African youth prepared for a new era of innovation-robotics and economics, saying that these offered more potential to make an impact.

He said the youth must desist from giving excuses; move on, while using their time, particularly on social media, for profitable ventures.

“The excuses won't matter. Forget about your background and get up and strap up. If you are not part of the solution, then you are absolutely part of the problem,” he said.

Access Bank support

Speaking on behalf of the Managing Director of Access Bank, Olumide Olatunji, the Executive Director of Retail and Digital Banking, Pearl Nkrumah, said the bank was passionate about the youth in Africa and sought to create entrepreneurship in the youth, enable and empower them to impact their generation and also help them to influence their world.

She advised participants to use the occasion to network and access finance they would need to move forward.

“I believe if we present them opportunities for their voices to be heard, provide them guidance to nurture their dreams, develop their talents and give them access to funding, most of their problems will be solved,” she said.

She said that since 2014, Access Bank had provided such opportunities and empowered the youth through solo ambassador initiatives in schools, which placed the youth in organisations to help them create income they expect.

Again, she said that through the bank’s financial literacy programme the youth, especially women, are given the opportunity to influence their society.

Need for knowledge

Taking his turn, Mr Robert Burale from Kenya deduced that Africans tend to avoid the processes to the prize and only seek the prize.

He said that although the process to success was not the easiest, when the right knowledge is sought after, the prize could be realised.

“Seek the right knowledge, work towards your purpose and harness your gift to be able to have influence.

“You can never recover time but you can redeem time,” he said.

For his part, Mr Thembekway reiterated the need for individuals to get helpers along the journey to success, noting that the quality of people individuals surrounded themselves with determined their future.
He urged the youth to collaborate and build good relationship with people who matter.