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Diasporian News Tue, 20 Aug 2013

Instill education and skill development ...

...in your members to position yourself for a change- Dr. Stephen Ameyaw
Immigrant communities especially the Ghanaian Communities in the diaspora have been advised to instil education and skill development in their members if they want to be economic competitive. This advised was given by Dr. Stephen Ameyaw of the Simon Fraser University at the inauguration of the Brong Ahafo Calgary Canadian Association in Calgary, Canada. Speaking as the keynote speaker under the theme – “building capacity for change- education for leadership” at the inauguration, he said the warning signals are blinking red and the only way those communities can thrive is to produce informed leadership through education and skill development. He encouraged such communities to partner with business, educational institutions and policy makers to provide tools and resources to facilitate and drive change.

Dr. Ameyaw continued that in this period of economic uncertainties, the only way to chart a new path is to secure our economic competiveness through education. According to him, “in an economy driven by innovation and knowledge, and in market places engaged in intense competition renewal, we must act now otherwise it will be too late”.

Furthermore, according to Dr. Ameyaw, the ingenuity, agility and skills of immigrant communities and organizations are crucial to our competitive edge- we must act now to position ourselves for the future, he added. He was of the view that immigrant communities ability to compete, to create businesses and create jobs – demands a fresh approach to training and education. He predicted that in the next decade, immigrant communities will be faced with the challenge of education and skills training systems that will prepare students, workers and citizens to triumph in the global economic competitiveness. He therefore urged the Ghanaian communities in the diaspora to persuade business leaders, educationists and policy makers and other stakeholders to agree on goals for acquiring the 21st century skills that are essential to the immigrant communities in our effort to position ourselves to be competitive. Dr. Ameyaw was of the view that the industrial economy based on manufacturing which hitherto employed many immigrants has shifted to a service economy driven by information, knowledge and innovation and as a result of this, we must prepare ourselves to meet those challenges else we will be left behind. He advised immigrant communities to act now because innovative industries and firms, and high-growth jobs require more educated workers with the ability to respond flexibly to complex problems, communicate effectively, manage information, work in teams and produce new knowledge

In his welcome address, the Chairman of the association, Mr. Augustine Boahen reiterated the aims of the association which include among other things the provision of social, cultural and educational programs that meet the needs of its members and the community. The association according to the Chairman is there to articulate the concerns of members in particular and the Ghanaian – Canadian community in general on public issues like social justice, equity, refugee and immigration matters and issues affecting women and children. The educational needs of the region and the empowerment of the youth are on the hearts of the association.

The association according to the Chairman is in talks with some insurance companies to provide life insurance for its members so that in case a member passes on, the financial burden left behind from the funeral and burial will be taken care of. As immigrants living outside Ghana, the association thinks that the cost of funeral is increasing and there is the need to address this problem hence the need for a life insurance for members. By way of encouraging our youth to pursue higher education, BACCA plans to institute scholarships for deserving children of members who are in the second cycle schools in Canada. In line with the theme for the inauguration, the association is in talks with Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) of British Columbia to provide educational programs and courses for members in particular and the greater Calgary community in general. Such training will provide skills and equip the members to position themselves for the changing working environment in Canada.

The representative of the Council of Brong Ahafo Associations in North America (Cobanna) Rev. Akwasi Amponsah Yeboah who came all the way from Chicago encouraged members to support Cobanna in its effort in helping in the development of the Brong Ahafo. Cobanna is the amalgamation of all the chapters of the Brong Ahafo associations in North America. According to Rev. Yeboah, Cobanna has been providing materials and equipment to the Sunyani Government as their contribution to better the lives of the people in the region. He therefore encouraged the gathering to build a strong local chapter of the association because when the chapters are strong, then we can have a strong Cobanna.

The night was a night of food, fun and entertainment. Mr. Martin Adomah was crowned Mr. BACCA while Ms. Serwaa Bonsu was adjudged Miss BACCA. The Chairman for the function, Mr. Daniel Baffour Awuah advised all those Calgarians who are from Brong Ahafo and also those who are not even from Brong Ahafo to join the association because the association has good plans and programs that will help not only the members but the general Calgary community.

DJ Kofi Yeboah entertained the gathering to superb music.

Source: Augustine Boahen

Source: Boahen, Augustine