From Sebastian R. Freiku, Kumasi
A five-day Livelihood Skills and Business Fair, under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, has been opened in Kumasi, with a call on the National Youth Authority (NYA) to diligently implement the provisions of the Social Policy Framework of the African Union, in order to develop a strong, disciplined youth, imbued with a spirit of nationalism and sense of public service and morality, in line with its objectives.
The fair, which has the theme “Investing in the Youth to help themselves – The task & responsibilities of the Stakeholders”, is in direct response to the continental theme “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend Through Investing in Youth”, heralds the African Union Day Youth rally on Thursday, as part of this year’s Africa Union Day celebration.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Isaac Asiamah, who opened the fair yesterday, said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, upon the realisation that youth unemployment had reached crisis levels, recognises the fact that the youth constitute our major source of human capital for the transformational agenda of this country, hence, all efforts to discover the talents of the youth and sharpen their skills for the sustained growth of the economy.
He said the Social Policy Framework of the African Union agrees that due to youth unemployment and under-employment, the youth are open to many social challenges, including drug abuse, violence, exploitation, and sexual abuse, for which the said social policy framework recommends that African governments develop programmes to address unemployment among youth with disabilities, to ensure that they have equal access to opportunities.
According to the Minister, it is in view of this recommendation that the NPP’s National Youth Policy is designed to help shape our youth, through developing leadership skills, quality education, entrepreneurship, job skills and creative skills, and gave the assurance that the government will continue to resource the NYA and the Youth Employment Authority (YEA) to provide vocational and professional training to as many youth as possible to be self-reliant.
Minister Asiamah indicated that the government was in the process of establishing a Youth Enterprise Fund (YEF), that will provide funding and business development services for businesses owned by young entrepreneurs, especially start-ups.
The Chief Executive of the NYA, Mr. Emmanuel Sin-Nyet Asigri, said the fair is intended to bring a new lease of attitude towards apprenticeship and vocational, as well as livelihood skills training in Ghana, and to orient stakeholders to review youth development interventions in a direction towards youth poverty reduction.
He announced that the NYA, in conjunction with the Federation of Professional Trade Associations of Ghana, is embarking on a nationwide crusade, aimed at achieving 50,000 youth artisanal vocational and trade apprenticeship promotions by the close of 2018.
The NYA CEO stressed the need for parents, teachers, social workers, government, nananom, and the entire social structure, to assume tasks and responsibilities in the crusade to promote skills acquisition as a more lucrative and viable means of livelihood, than those with high risks of fatality.
The Chief Executive of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), Osei Assibey Antwi, noted that there were a lot of development opportunities, and gave the assurance that the KMA would help the youth acquire skills to secure their future and survival.