Ghana’s Minister for Finance Hon Ken Ofori Attah had made an unannounced call at the 2nd African Youth SDGs Summit taking the opportunity to address the over 1400 youths present at the summit stating how much of an honor it was to be at the summit.
The minister commended Emmanuel Ametepey, the Convener of the summit and the 2030 Youth Alliance for demonstrating commitment to mobilize the active participation of the youth in the SDGs implementation. He was of the view that Africa is projected to have a quarter of the global population by 2050 and 35-40% of that would be an active youth population. This according to him translates into an incredible market and resource for Africa in terms of human capital. “The continent would therefore be faced with the challenge of whether the projected demographic blessing can be transformed into a blessing or a land where the people are sent out because opportunities are not opened up, which is the true challenge of most African Countries” he added.
Hon. Ofori Atta stated that, the vision of the Government of Ghana for instance, is to ensure no one is left behind and that training of the mind with given skills will enable everybody have the capacity to contribute to all the creative energies that the Lord has given them.
He emphasised that human capital is more important than everything else we do to create a self-confident society that is prosperous and has the capacity to leverage all its resources in a way in which the wealth is retained here. Ghana has taken the SDGs very serious and realize that the ‘5Ps’ of People, Planet, Prosperity, Partnership and peace is at the core of sustained and robust development with people being at the center of all planning.
In addition, he further mentioned that the first budget of the current government made attempt at abolishing as many taxes as possible to create economic space for people’s energies to work and is focus on how to empower this generation of people to ensure a much better preparation for the future. The government has also proposed century bond to push Africans and Ghana to think long term to socially reengineer how we think long term impacts of things that we do and how to plan them.The minister indicated that the youth and people at the center of all these ensures a discourse that goes beyond just rhetoric on social media but of people thinking of the future and government fulfilling its part of the social contract to ensure trust in governance as opposed to the cynicism that we have currently.
He also expressed that there is detection of a lot more seriousness of African governments with regards to where they want their nations to go and they are incorporating a lot of private sector people into policy making and very important Ministries. However, revenue is needed to do all these hence the role of the citizen and the nations. Empowered Citizens must do what they are supposed to do to contribute to the growth of their nations and must be confident in themselves to fight for their nations whether or not government is doing their part.
“I can confidently say that there is a class of finance Ministers beginning to be really clear about the centrality of the youth to build sustainability of the continent” he said.
In his concluding remarks, Hon. Ofori Atta mentioned that Africa loses about USD 70 billion through illicit trades and illicit financing has 75% being commercial transactions. However, citizens also work for the companies where these take place, hence he encouraged all especially the youth to be confident as a people to champion the development of the nations.
“Africa is a continent that must continue to be ours and governments look to continually support the youth in all they do”,he concluded.
By Ellen Lindsey Awuku- Communications Officer,Youth Advocates Ghana-YAG