Ghanaian youth can contribute substantially to socioeconomic growth if sufficient support structures are in place, Dr Ismael Yamson, a Leader in Corporate and Strategic Management, has stated.
He explained that creativity and innovation had a symbiotic relationship, which required sustained investment support to achieve success and increase economic independence.
“The youth may have big dreams, but if they don’t have the support to turn their ideas into scalable innovations, their dreams will remain on paper.
“We must tackle challenges including educational disparities, limited access to relevant and quality education, unemployment, mental health struggles and lack of personal growth opportunities,” Dr Yamson said.
He was speaking at a public lecture to mark the 5th Anniversary celebration of Academic City University College.
The lecture was on the theme: “Empowering the Youth for the Future.”
Dr Yamson said nurturing innovation and creativity, cultivating leadership skills and building resilience was vital for development.
However, “removing obstacles to nurturing creativity and innovation, fixing poor institutions, lack of basic infrastructure, poor policy coordination and above all poor governance, were first and foremost.”
“Africa contributes less than two per cent to global innovation, so it is no wonder that the continent has experienced low growth rates, high levels of debt and high poverty rates for many years,” he said.
According to Dr. Yamson, the youth are digital natives who are entrepreneurial, have a desire for inclusivity, and are concerned about their financial security.
They are socially conscious and seek authenticity, are mobile, and are keenly unsatisfied with orthodoxy.
“They are highly exposed to technology, particularly Artificial Intelligence and Generative Artificial Intelligence. They are often ahead of decision-makers, eager to experiment, forward-looking, creative, innovative, adventurous. They are self-conscious, self-confident and want deep engagement,” he said.
He highlighted the knowledge of leadership, constant Innovation and adaption, collective Intelligence, leading change, emotional intelligence and Soft Skills, connectivity, and empathy as seven leadership skills that must be imparted to the youth.
Prof Fred McBagonluri, President and Provost of Academic City University College, emphasized the importance of education in preparing youths for the complexities of the future, considering the sub region’s harsh and demanding economic conditions and uncertainties.
“Five years ago, we embarked on a mission to shape young minds and empower them to navigate the challenges of an ever-evolving world.
“As an institution, we are excited about the progress we have made and inspired by the potential that lies ahead,” he said.
Academic City University College is ranked 15th in Sub-Saharan Africa and second in Ghana by the Times Higher Education (THE).
The University’s innovative approach to education has paid off, as its alumni are working with leading financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs in the UK, whilst others have become entrepreneurs.
A former student has established Goliath Robotics, a company dedicated to the manufacturing of electric bikes and wheelchairs.
Academic City has a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM-focused) curriculum and has been cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit among its students.