Harnessing the power of our youth

As our nation continues on its path of growth and development, it is essential to recognise the critical role its youth play in shaping the country's future. 

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With over 70 per cent of the population under 35, young people are a significant force that can drive economic progress, innovation and social change. However, this demographic dividend can only be realised if we invest in and empower our youth to reach their full potential.

Unfortunately, there are some challenges getting in the way of optimising the potential of the youth. Significant among them is unemployment. Many of our young people struggle to find decent jobs, leading to frustration and disillusionment.

There is no denying that the country is experiencing a high rate of unemployment, with many more either underemployed or engaged in vulnerable forms of employment. This situation has far-reaching consequences, including increased poverty, inequality and social unrest.

Another challenge is limited access to quality education and skills training. Many young people, especially in rural areas, lack access to decent schools, teachers and healthcare facilities.

 This perpetuates the cycle of poverty and limits opportunities for social mobility. Despite these challenges, there are many success stories of young Ghanaians making a positive impact on their communities and industries.

Young entrepreneurs are creating innovative businesses, employing others and contributing to economic growth. Young activists are driving social change, advocating environmental protection, gender equality and good governance.

So, what can be done to harness the power of our youth? On top of the list, policymakers must prioritise youth empowerment. This includes investing in quality education, vocational training, and health care.

We need to equip our young people with the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to succeed in a rapidly changing world.  We must also deliberately create opportunities for youth entrepreneurship and employment, which must include providing access to capital, mentorship and markets.

Last week, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, Kofi Ofosu Nkansah, announced that about 500 female porters (kayayei) under the Youth Employment Agency programme had received smart grants and start-up packs to commence their entrepreneurial journey.

The start-up packs and smart grants are expected to pave the way for the beneficiaries to venture into a variety of trade areas after three weeks of sponsored training. The cohorts graduated from the programme after acquiring various vocational skills, including soap making, bead making, baking and some aspects of beauty therapy.

While the Daily Graphic commends the government for the intervention, much more resources need to be invested in preparing the youth for the current global demands. We need to encourage innovation, risk-taking and creativity.

Beyond that, we must involve young people in the decision-making process. We need to listen to their voices, ideas and concerns, and give them a seat at the table. This includes appointing young people to leadership positions, engaging them in policy formulation and empowering them to drive social change.

The Daily Graphic is of the view that the achievements of young Ghanaians must be recognised and celebrated to encourage others as our culture usually focuses more on the successes of the old than those of young people.

We need to create a culture that values and rewards hard work, innovation and social impact. We must inspire and motivate our young people to strive for excellence and make a positive difference in their communities.

The youth of this country are a precious resource that must be nurtured, empowered and celebrated. We have a collective responsibility to ensure that our young people have the opportunities, support and resources required to succeed.

By harnessing the power of our youth, we can build a brighter future for ourselves, our children and generations to come. Let us work together to optimise the potential of our youth and create a better Ghana for all.

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