President Nana Akufo-Addo has called on African leaders to invest in their young population, as they form the driving force for the continent’s growth and development.
“It is my firm belief that harnessing the potential of Africa calls for an education and skills revolution to meet the human resources needs for inspiring Africa’s growth. Investing in Africa’s young people by giving them the skills they need for the future is perhaps one of the smartest strategies for accelerating progress on the continent,” he said.
According to the president, over 60 percent of Africa’s population today had not been born in 1990 – making Africa the continent with the youngest population in the world. He added that this young population is gifted with ideas and potentials which need to be honed for the continent’s advantage.
“Ours is a continent of very high potentials, and the hopes and opportunities needed to leapfrog Africa’s development are here with us. The urgent responsibility for leaders and businesses on the continent is to harness these potentials to create the Africa we want to see,” he said.
The president further urged other African countries to emulate Ghana’s example of adopting policies which support the education of the African youth, citing his administration’s ‘Free SHS’ policy as an example.
“In Ghana, our aspirations to engender development through human resource development is illustrated by the introduction of a ‘Free Senior High School’ policy to make basic and secondary education accessible to all Ghanaian children. This is born out of the realisation that all efforts aimed at propelling socio-economic growth will fail if the country does not have a skilled and educated workforce pushing the frontiers of development,” he said.
“We in Ghana have set the pace, and I encourage my compatriots on the continent to equally implement policies which strengthen their human capital base.”
Reading the speech on behalf of the president, Minister for Information Mustapha Hamid added that, beyond investing in the youth, President Akufo-Addo’s government is committed to implementing policies which will empower the private sector and local businesses to be globally competitive.
Mustapha Hamid was speaking at the second edition of the Africa Leadership Conference in Accra, organised by the International Advertising Association (IAA) under the theme ‘Evolution of Brands and Consumers: Re-invent or die’.
The two-day event, dubbed ‘Africa Rising Reloaded’, brought together current and future business leaders, brands and other stakeholders to engage in meaningful dialogue toward developing the African continent through innovation and technology.
At the event, The IAA conferred an honorary membership on President Akufo-Addo in recognition of his leadership.
President of the Advertising Association of Ghana (AAG), Joel Nettey, used the opportunity to call on the United Nations (UN) to recognise the advertising industry with a special day on the UN Calendar as a way of shedding light on the scope and impact of their activities.
“On the International front. it is almost mind-boggling that an industry such as ours – Advertising or indeed Communications as a whole – does not have a day set aside on the UN’s international calendar to be used as a rallying point to harness and focus all communications around the world toward particular causes which positively impact humanity,” he said.
He asked President Akufo-Addo to help in this regard by advancing the cause to the international community.