Change must not end as mere campaign slogan, Akufo warns
President-elect of Ghana, Dr. Nana Akufo has declared that the change sweeping across the continent must not be allowed to pass as mere campaign slogan, even as he noted the deepening of democracy in Africa.
Akufo, who would be inaugurated on January 7, 2017, made the remarks at the 11th edition of Future of Africa Award, held over the weekend at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos.
The President-elect who commended the wind of change that swept opposition political parties into office in Nigeria, Ghana and Gambia in recent times, noted that: “Democracy dividends do not come automatically.”
He contended that since democracy has windows of opportunities to realize the dividends, “we have to be versed in the empowerment, education and employment of our young people.
“With over 40 percent of its working population of between the ages of 15 to 24, our continent is considered the youngest in the world. This represents a staggering amount of human potential. The current African economic outlook shows that this number is set to double by 2020.”
The keynote speaker noted that the youth holds the ace for Africa’s emergence as light, stressing that youth unemployment was a ticking time-bomb, which had been exemplified by Arab Spring as having the potential to undermine social cohesion and political stability.
He urged African leaders to pay greater attention to youth empowerment, employment and education, adding that the country should also learn from the Costa Rica example, by diversifying into technological advancement, since according to him, “for businesses to be competitive they must be technologically competitive.”
His words: “It is clear that the unemployment problem in Africa is a ticking time bomb. The Arab spring showed it clearly that the lack of job opportunity can undermine social cohesion and political stability.”
While noting that between 10 to 12 million youth join the labour market every year, Akufo maintained that African leaders must “pay great attention to the issue of job creation,” adding that “a large population does not automatically guarantee us a future of growth and prosperity.”
Expressing his gratitude to the organizers, Akufo said the meeting serves as his first learning experience as he prepares to take office.
Notable All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains attended the event, including Kayode Fayemi, Rotimi Amaechi, former Minister of Information, Frank Nweke Jnr, former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi and Mr. Jimi Agbaje.