Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey
Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has indicated that to attain a future beyond aid in Africa would require Investment in the Continent’s youth.
She was speaking at the closing ceremony of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Africa 2019 annual meeting, held at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra.
The Minister encouraged African nations to make good use of the Continent’s youthful population.
She indicated that global population projections show that between now and 2050, the greatest spurt of population expansion will occur in Africa.
“Already, we have a large share of the world’s youthful population. This could mean economic power for us (Africa), but only on condition that we are able to strategically position the continent to take advantage of this human resource endowment for development,” madam Ayorkor Botchwey intimated.
She therefore urged that the provision of education should remain a key priority as it would equip African youth and future leaders with the ability to contribute meaningfully through innovative means to development.
“Ghana has already embarked on this essential capacity development of her youth,” she said in her closing remarks.
She cited the Ghanaian Government’s free Senior High School (SHS) policy as one of the ways in which Ghana is consciously contributing to education and skills development of its young people.
“Government through this programme, is ensuring that over 400,000 Ghanaian children will have an equal chance of receiving secondary education to equip them with the needed capacity to further drive Government’s development efforts,” she said.
According to her, it was reassuring that Africa has started taking steps to reduce aid dependency.
“However, we are mindful of the challenges ahead of the promising journey we have embarked upon,” the Minister added.
She stressed that although seemingly formidable, the task ahead of Africans is achievable.
But she warned that “…we will not be successful in this enterprise if we adopt a business-as-usual approach to doing things.”
BY Melvin Tarlue