“I want you to know that with God and hardwork, everything is possible. In life there will be challenges and naysayers. Eschew the naysayers and those who want to distract you and wear you down. Ignore those who talk about impossibilities. Focus your minds, and have a mind-set of possibilities. If you put your minds to you it, you can achieve it.”
These were the words of the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia when he addressed over 500 Ghanaian youth drawn across the country at Gomoa Fetteh in the Central Region at the opening ceremony of the Ghana Youth Congress, organised by the Christian Council of Ghana.
The Congress, under the theme ‘Ghana, My Home, My Future’ is the precursor to an African Youth Congress to be organised by the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) and aimed at engaging Africa’s youth in general, and Ghanaian youth in particular, to build up moral character, explore the opportunities that exist on the continent, and help disabuse their minds about supposed greener pastures elsewhere which leads to illegal migration and avoidable deaths.
Recalling his younger days when, amongst others, he was the only member of the Tamale Methodist Boys’ Brigade without boots and ‘studied’ Literature without a text book but is today a PhD holder and the Vice President of Ghana, Dr Bawumia emphasized:
“Your present circumstances will not determine your future. What will determine your future are your dreams, aspirations and hard work. Work hard, study hard, build yourselves, and you will make it. I don’t see why Ghana and Ghanaian youth cannot be among the best in the world. I know you can do it.”
Expanding on the role of the youth in nation-building, Vice President Bawumia pointed out that approximately 67% of Africa’s population is reported to be under the age of 29, and governments on the continent, including Ghana, are exploring ways to help the youth develop their talents and capabilities to meet the growth aspirations of the citizens.
“With an estimated 6 million young people joining the labour force by 2024, the surest way to a sustainable employment path would not come from ‘waiting for a job’ but rather, by encouraging ourselves to apply our creativity and skills towards building opportunities across various fields.
“The Government of President Akufo-Addo’s target is to train our graduates to acquire the needed skills required for the job market in future. Some of the initiatives include an ongoing stakeholder engagement for skills revitalization in several sectors of the economy such as banking and tourism.
“As well, the construction and modernization of all National Vocational training Institutes (NVTIs) and Opportunity Industrialization Centers (OIC) is ongoing, with 17 Technical and Vocational Institutes across the country being upgraded and modernized so far.”
Shedding more light on the aggressive digitalization agenda being pursued by government, Vice President Bawumia said about 9 million jobs in Ghana are expected to require digital skills by 2030, and the provision of ICT infrastructure and capacity development programmes to provide digital training and upskilling of the youth to equip them for the future is key, hence the installation of telecommunication towers in remote communities, training of ICT teachers as trainers, and the operationalization of the Ghana Digital Centres.
Thanking the Christian Council of Ghana for their “massive contribution to our nation’s growth and development,” including the organization of the Ghana Youth Congress, Dr Bawumia had these parting words for the youth:
“To the youths that are here today and all Ghanaian youths, I would encourage you to be open-minded to see the numerous opportunities in this era of globalization in a digitized environment. Only diligent and hardworking youth would be rewarded in this new global economy. Remember, the Sky is no longer your limit, it is now your starting point.”