The Planning Committee for Ghana at 60 Anniversary on Wednesday launched a competition christened: “Jubilee Innovation Challenge,” aimed at challenging the youth from 18 to 35 years, to innovate creative ideas that would solve societal problems.
The Committee expects applicants to originate ideas that would provide solutions to social issues pertaining to healthcare, science and technology, education, as well as local governance, industrial and manufacturing management.
Mr Laud Commey, the Chairperson of Events and Media Sub-committee, addressing the media at the launch of the competition, in Accra, said it was a platform to mobilise young people to contribute their quota towards national development.
The competition opens from February 22 to May 19, and shortlisted applicants would be announced on July 2.
The awards ceremony would come off on July 19, and the winner would receive GH¢100,000 prize package while the First Runner-up would get GH¢75,000 and the Second Runner-up would go home with GH¢50,000, which would be financed by the Universal Merchant Bank.
Mr Commey noted that countries such as South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia which Ghana started the development journey with had thrived and advanced technologically because they adopted innovation and technology.
Launching the competition at the Black Stars Square, Mr Mustapha Abdul Hamid, the Minister of information, said there was no way Ghana would develop if the citizenry continued to engage in mediocrity and shun excellence and innovation.
He said excellence and innovation were the key principles that the youth should imbibe, to make the country the African lion that Ghanaians had been craving for.
“If Ghana were a human being, she will have reached her retirement. Ghanaians should ask themselves, what have you achieved of the 60 years of your life?”
“More often than not, Ghanaians lamented that they started life journey with South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia, and proudly use their innovative products. We drive Hyundai vehicles and hold our Samsung phones with pride.
“But in my humble opinion instead of being proud, we should be ashamed that we started the same pedestal with them, and today, it’s their products that give us essence of belonging,” he said.
The Minister said such products could have been Ghanaian products if the people were innovative and adopted excellence as the watchword at the beginning.
Mr Hamid said, nothing was late in life and thus, challenged young Ghanaians to be inventive and think outside the box in order to come out with creative ideas that would change the lives of people for the better.
“We were told the one who invented Facebook conceptualise the idea in a university hostel and now he is one of the richest guys on the face of the earth,” he said.
He indicated that the competition would open avenue for the youth to become economically prosperous in the near future.
The Minister, therefore, implored young people to take up the challenge to get ideas, create them and put them out.
“You may never know, your idea may turn out to be the winning idea until you have entered the challenge.
Mr John Awuah, the Chief Executive Officer of Universal Merchant Bank, expressed optimism that the new ideas would transform the country because the problems for the future needed innovative thinking.
He said the Bank chose to finance the price package for the would-be winners because it believed in youth development and thus, asked the Anniversary Secretariat to sustain the competition in order to provide solution to societal problems.
The theme for the anniversary celebration is: “Ghana, 60 years on, mobilising towards the future,” and urged Ghanaians to be part of the celebration.