According to Akwasi Frimpong: "It was an honour to be invited to the Atlantic Council of the United States (US) in Washington DC as a panelist representing the African youth at the US launch of the very first ‘African Youth Survey’ in partnership with the Atlantic Council and the Ichikowitz Family Foundation (IFF)."
The Winter Olympian from Ghana who disclosed this on his social media also went on to say that being invited to the panel of the Wednesday, February 26, 2020 event hosted by the Africa Center "clearly demonstrates that Africa is a vital part of the conversation. It also is a privilege for me to be the voice and indeed ‘Hope of a Billion’ fellow Africans.”
He also told TheAfricanDream.net that “the new African is more aware of the power they possess to become a force for positive change."
Akwasi believes one vital way young Africans are bringing about progress is through the use of their voices and the opportunities social media and faith in themselves present them.
Speaking after being a panelist at the official launch of the African Youth Survey event in Washington, DC. The panel discussion started after a short video presentation of the report’s findings to attendees and guests that day.
The Olympian who expressed gratitude to Ichikowitz Family Foundation and the Atlantic Council said events like this one allows him to get closer to achieving his desire "to simply contribute to shaping the African narrative, inspire all underdogs to work hard, and everyone to dream big."
The IFF’s inaugural African Youth Survey is the most comprehensive overview of youth perspectives in Africa to date. The report which paints a picture of Afro-optimism, also highlights the challenges of corruption and unemployment, while bringing to light interesting contradictions regarding opinions on climate change, democracy, and foreign influence.
Africa Center Director of Programs and Studies Ms. Bronwyn Bruton opened a panel discussion with Ghanaian Olympian Akwasi Frimpong and Cathy Hartman — Executive Vice President of the report’s research partner PSB Research. Bruton engaged both on their participation in the survey, allowing Hartman to respond to the survey’s methodology while having Frimpong recount his inspirational story as a skeleton Olympian for Ghana, which is spotlighted in the report.
“Being the ‘Hope of a Billion‘ for me is being an example for more than a billion Africans who have been told their dreams are not possible. I want to be the example that any dream, whether it is about being a doctor, a lawyer, a business person, or an Olympian, is possible with hard work, dedication and perseverance. Being that example is one of the things that makes me work so hard because everything worth doing requires hard work” — Akwasi Frimpong.
“It was also an honor meeting Mr. Ivor Ichikowitz in person and former Commander of US Africa Command Lt. General William Ward (Ret.),” said the Olympian who felt impressed by the quality and content of attendants and guests at the event.
Senior stakeholders from government, civil society, and the private sector, as well as journalists from the US media and from Africa, attended the event, adding to its color and raising important questions on the survey’s design, applications, and intended audience. Both panelists remarked on the survey’s broad applicability and outlined avenues for further study in forthcoming iterations.
Read the survey report here in this link or watch the YouTube video from the event which was streamed live.