The 2012 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has reiterated his belief that revenues from Ghana’s new oil wealth must be invested in the youth of the country, as it has the potential of yielding numerous dividends for the country.
Delivering a speech yesterday at a symposium organised by the Royal African Society and the Centre of African Studies, SOAS, in London yesterday, Nana Akufo-Addo explained that Africa generally has the youngest population in the world, adding that it is about time African governments paid more attention to ensuring that a future of hopelessness is not created for this large demographic group.
Nana Akufo-Addo reiterated his belief in statements made by Yifu Lin, a former World Bank Chief Economist, who stated that ““if a large cohort of young people cannot find employment and earn satisfactory income, the youth bulge will become a demographic bomb, because a large mass of frustrated youth is likely to become a potential source of social and political instability.”
Accordingly, Nana Addo stressed the need for the investment of Ghana’s oil revenues into education and skills training for the youth, stressing that these remain “important sources of empowering and providing opportunities to the youth.”
Recounting how over 60% of those who make it to primary school do not make it secondary school, and how Ghana, year after year, is conscripting a future army of unemployable adults, Nana Akufo-Addo described this development as “dangerous.”
“Ghana deserves a leadership that thinks of the next generation, not the next election. This is the reason behind the priority proposal to redefine basic education. This is the reason behind the priority proposal to redefine basic education and make it free and compulsory from Kindergarten to Senior High School. No child must be denied access to quality education. For this generation, in the context of mass poverty, the responsibility for ensuring that lies on the state,” Akufo-Addo maintained.
Explaining how Ghana can begin the process of eradicating mass poverty, Nana Addo noted that Ghana’s problem is one of being a producer of primary products and an importer of finished goods.
This, according to Nana Addo, must change with a greater emphasis on the addition of value to our raw materials, and the industrialisation of the Ghanaian economy.
“As the experiences of thee successful countries in Asia and elsewhere have shown, government has a very important and positive role to play in spurring industrialisation and economic transformation. It needs not be state owned; it needs rather the vision, commitment and intelligent support of the state,” Nana Addo added.