UN Envoy Advocates Youth Empowerment In Ghana
The United Nations (UN) Secretary General's envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, has called for the empowerment of the Ghanaian youth in order for the country to fully benefit from its demographic dividend.
She said although Ghana has taken the right step by signing onto the African Union roadmap for harnessing the demographic dividend, its full implementation was necessary to see the ideas manifested in the lives of the Ghanaian youth.
She commended the various government initiatives notably the free Senior High School (SHS) education aimed at ensuring the youth are given quality and accessible education and skills to advance the country's economic and social development.
“I was privileged to be in Dakar to listen to your president say those inspiring words and I believe African countries have what it takes to harness their demographic dividend,” she said.
Ms. Wickramanayake said these during a day's working visit to Ghana as part of a tour of five African countries.
During her visit, she paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Youth and Sports, Isaac Kwame Asiamah, to deliberate strategies to employ so as to implement the country's demographic dividend action plan.
Mr. Asiamah expressed pleasure in meeting the UN youth envoy and said government's Free SHS and youth employment scheme would help address the needs of the country's young population.
“We will also be launching the digital market programme, which is targeted at assisting 3,000 youth to do their own businesses,” he said.
Ms. Wickramanayake also interacted with a group of female adolescent head porters (Kayayei) at the Agbogbloshie Market where she encouraged them to go through the skills development programme and pursue their dreams.
The UN Youth envoys visit falls in line with current advocacy for Ghana to implement key policies and programmes that must ensure the nation's young working-age population is equipped to fully seize opportunities for well-paying jobs, increase productivity and other income-earning possibilities.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) country Representative, Niyi Ojuolape, expressed the commitment of the UNFPA to continue working to ensure young people in Ghana grow to their full potential, particularly teenage girls.
Over the last 20 years, the age structure of Ghana's population has steadily been changing, as a result of low birth and death rates, coupled with the decline in fertility rates.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri