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Friday, August 12, 2022

Let’s Empower ECOWAS Youth — President Yayi

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benin_president_boni.gifThe President of Benin, Dr Yayi Boni, has stressed the need for a
concerted efforts from Africa in giving attention to all facets of
development affecting the youth — sports, health, economics and
education — to help them make a meaningful contribution to the new
African development.

Dr Yayi believes that offering the youth of
Africa new opportunities to flourish and realise their full potential
is the only way to have a pragmatic solution to the numerous problems
facing the youth of today and which is hindering an accelerated
development of the continent.


Addressing an
ECOWAS sub-regional meeting of Ministers of Youth and Sports in Cotonou
last Friday, President Yayi whose speech was read on his behalf by
Benin’s Minister of Defence, Mr Issifou Kogui Nígouro, said the high
rate of unemployment among African youth was leading them astray into a
lot of vices such as armed robbery, drug abuse and several other social
vices, thereby affecting every aspect of meaningful development in the
sub-region.

If the problem of the youth was not
solved prudently and pragmatically, then the programme of development
would remain a mirage, Dr Yayi observed.


He
told the Ministers: “The youth of Africa in general and the ECOWAS
sub-region in particular form an essential resource and they could be
effective collaborators in the achievement of the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs).
 
They
can, however, not play their roles well if they are not adequately
prepared, and it behoves us as present leaders to ensure that they are
well prepared to help them contribute their bit to our individual and
collective developmental aspirations for the continent.”

The
five-day meeting of the ECOWAS Youth and Sports Ministers in Cotonou
was to discuss the best ways to revive and promote sports within the
sub-region, as well as harmonise youth development programmes at the
sub-regional level.

Thirteen member countries
including hosts, Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ghana,
Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo were
represented by their Youth and Sports Ministers for the two-day
Ministers Conference which was preceded by a Meeting of Experts to
formulate a working document for the Ministers.

Ghana’s
delegation was led by the Deputy Minister of Education, Science and
Sports O.B. Amoah (for sports) and the Deputy Minister of Manpower,
Youth and Employment, Hon. Ken-Wuud Nuworsu (for youth).

Mrs
Adrienne Diop, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Gender and Human Development
who represented the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Mohammed Ibn
Chambas, also stressed the need to provide the youth with a platform to
express their talent in promoting sports and culture.
 
She
said the youth formed the majority of the population in ECOWAS and
advocated programmes that would prepare them for adulthood and make
them more responsible and responsive to building a sub-region that is
competitive economically, vibrant socially, as well as effectively
participate in the integration process of ECOWAS.

She
said in view of the new dynamics in development issues, the
sub-regional body was now shifting from being that of states to be more
people-centred to build upon the enormous human resource and give hope
to the youth in the sub-region.

She pledged
ECOWAS’ commitment to promoting gender issues, sports and economic
development, and as a first step, an ECOWAS Youth and Sports
Development Centre has been opened in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, while
a programme meant to provide an economic empowerment to the youth has
also begun at the Songhai Centre in Porto Novo near Cotonou.

Five
Ghanaians, four males and a female, selected through the National Youth
and Employment Programme, are currently undergoing a month’s exercise
at the centre, training in agro-based practical programmes.

The Ghanaians are undergoing the training through an ECOWAS sponsorship under the sub-regional body’s new training programme.
 
Source:Graphic Ghana
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