Youth urged to focus on developing skills in Information Technology

By Yaw
Ansah, GNA

Accra, Oct. 17, GNA – Mr Henry
Kerali, the World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone,
has urged the youth to focus on building their capacity in Information
Technology (IT) to benefit from the rapid growth of the sector. 

He said Ghana’s development required more
young people with IT and computer skills because the advancement of the sector
could accelerate innovation and create more jobs for the youth, thereby
reducing poverty.  

Mr Kerali, who was speaking at a day’s
dialogue on the “Future of Work and How Ghanaians could Use Technology to
Create Jobs,” however said there was a shortage of IT trained
workers.  

The event also marked the 25th Anniversary of
the Declaration by the United Nations General Assembly, designating
October 17 as the International Day for the Eradication of
Poverty.  

Eradicating poverty in all its dimensions, as
embodied in Goal1 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, remained
one of the greatest global challenges. 

Taking inspiration from the late Kofi Annan,
former UN Secretary General, he said; “Young people should be at the
forefront of global change and innovation. Empowered, they can be key agents
for development and peace.” 

“If, however, they are left on society’s
margins, all of us will be impoverished. Let us ensure that all young people
have every opportunity to participate fully in the lives of their
societies”.  

Mr Kerali noted that a recent Ghana
Employers Association Skills Gap Survey revealed that 47 per
cent of employees were computer literate and IT was the most lacking
skills among them.  

The study, he said, found that 30 per
cent of employers in the country indicated that employees lack technical
and practical skills.  

He said Ghana achieved the first Millennium
Development Goal of reducing the poverty rate by more than half, declining from
52.7 per cent in 1991 to 23.4 per cent in 2017. 

However, he said, there was still a wide gap
between educated and non-educated households and that the poverty rate remained
37 per cent among households whose heads received no formal
education.

The poverty rate declined to 7.5 per
cent among households whose heads have completed senior secondary
school. 

“The poverty rate of households whose heads
completed tertiary education declined to 0.9 percent. These numbers suggest
that investing in education is key to ending poverty in Ghana.  

“As a higher level of education leads to
better jobs and economic opportunities, Ghana can expect rising earnings
for girls in the very near future. A study by the World Bank finds that
each additional year of education is associated with a six to 10 per cent
increase in earnings,” Mr Kerali said.  

Touching on the Sub-Saharan Africa
performance on shared prosperity, he said the Continent performed poorly, as
its ability to break inter-generational poverty, reduce overall poverty, and
boost shared prosperity, would require transformational actions to spur and
sustain strong economic growth and enhance human capital. 

At a panel discussion, speakers drawn from the
human resource, business and IT sectors unanimously allayed the fears that
technology would soon take over the work of humans and make them redundant.

They were of the view that although robots
could assume some responsibilities and duties, it presents an opportunity for
humans to critically think and develop solutions to the many problems in the
world.

Ms Joycelyn Meds-Ainoo, a Savvy Human
Resource Professional, said the future of work was positive for people and
urged students to go beyond the theoretical studies and develop soft skills
including teamwork, good communication skills, and critical thinking to make
them marketable in the world of work.

GNA

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