President Akufo-Addo Urges African Leaders to Harness the Potential of Africa's youth
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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Monday challenged African leaders to progressively harness the potential and passion of the continent's youthful population to promote development and prosperity within a peaceful environment.

He said for Africa to develop, it was imperative that African political leaders addressed the welfare of the youth and create an atmosphere of peace and stability that would guarantee the future of the African youth.

“Peace is one of the most critical ingredients that is needed in all our efforts to make Africa and, indeed, the rest of the world successful. African leaders have to prioritize in establishing a peaceful atmosphere on the continent” he said in Accra at the inaugural launch of the Global Peace Inter-Generational Dialogue (IGD).

The IGD is a global initiative spearheaded by the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) to create a platform for the youth to interact with leaders, to reach a consensus on the best approach towards developing their respective countries, and to bring the views of the youth to bear on developmental issues, and to help create a better and prosperous future.

The Accra Dialogue is the first among a series of the initiative that will be coordinated in 100 more cities across the globe.

President Akufo-Addo told the gathering the continent's agenda for transformation can only be realized when societies made investments that promoted peace and stability.

The President said without peace, sustainable development in Africa would only be a fantasy, stressing on the need to involve the youth in the decision-making process that affects them. “We cannot talk about sustainable development without the active involvement of the youth,” he stated.

President Akufo-Addo said his government was determined to ensure that Ghana’s young people acquired skills that would put them at par with their peers anywhere in the world.

"The 21st century is both a competitive one and the era of a century of science and technology. We must educate and equip our youth with the requisite skills to enable them to compete in today’s world.

“Today, in Ghana, I am delighted to be able to say that education in the public sector is now free from Kindergarten to Senior High School, with the adoption of my government’s Free Senior High School policy, ” he said, stressing that investments in Ghana’s educational system was a key priority for his government.

President Akufo-Addo was firm that the mastery of digital technology by the youth ought to be the compelling challenge for them if they were to survive in the current competitive, technological environment.

“They have to survive. Technology is what helps us to make the world truly a global village, and enables once poor people to become prosperous, and scale up the value of their economic activities,” he added.

The President reiterated Ghana's commitment to promoting global peace and urged others on the continent to seek that path for a brighter tomorrow for the youth.

Madam Graca Machel, Chair of the ACCORD who jointly inaugurated the initiative with the President, urged the youth to be vocal on condemning conducts and issues that led to conflict and extremism.

"Change is coming at an alarming rate...new challenges, a world where things are wanted instantly, and this is very stressful. While many will adapt, many will be left behind... And the fear of the future which is driving anxiety and pushing people to prejudices, leading to extremist behavior.

"People need to be vocal about conflict," she said and admonished the youth to take advantage of the advent of social media to mobilise themselves for development and peace.

Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)