President John Dramani Mahama has urged African youth to acquire the needed skills, particularly education, to place them in a better position for the take-off of the continent’s socio-economic transformation.
In a panel discussion with three other African heads of state in London, to launch the Olusengu Obasanjo Foundation, President Mahama said the acquisition of knowledge, especially in information Communication Technology (ICT), was paramount if the youth of Africa could make progress in their lives.
The other heads of state on the panel were Presidents Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Dr Thomas Boni Yayi of Benin and Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria.
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The foundation aims at the eradication of poverty on the African continent through education.
President Mahama, however, said skills acquisition by the youth of the continent must be relevant to the socio-economic development challenges of their respective countries.
He described Africa as an emerging economy and that out of the 10 recent emerging countries in the world, six of such countries were from Africa.
President Mahama stated that foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa had seen significant increase because of the confidence reposed in Africa.
He attributed that to peace and security, reduction in conflict and good governance on the continent.
For her part, Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf lauded the foundation for targeting the girl-child, which would seek to address the long years of many wrongs against young girls on the continent.
She said if many girls were given good education, more women would become presidents in Africa like herself.
President Goodluck Jonathan said Nigeria was developing what he termed “entrepreneurial mentorship” for the youth of his country to serve as the vehicle for job creation.
He also urged the youth to take advantage of the many training facilities to make them marketable for the job market.
President Yayi advocated a human-centred approach to education on the continent, with emphasis on patriotism and Panafricanism among the youth.
The launch brought the crème de la crème of business moguls from the African continent in the United Kingdom and Europe to the function.
Accompanying President Mahama were Hannah Tetteh, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration; Dr Kwabena Agyei, National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress, and Professor Kwaku Boafo, Ghana’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.