Former President John Agyekum Kufuor says the Ghanaian youth require a great sense of creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, smartness and employable skills to break through the high level of youth unemployment in the country.
He urged youth to take advantage of the new mentorship programme, the Ghana Job Bank Initiative, to enhance their employable and entrepreneurial skills to overcome the scourge of poverty.
Former President Kufuor gave the advice when he was outdoored as the Patron of the Ghana Job Bank Initiative at his residence in Accra on Tuesday.
The Former President accepted to provide guidance and wise counsel to the managers of the programme to ensure the success of the initiative.
“The youth of Ghana must believe in themselves that they can do it because it seems everybody is looking up to the government for everything and in this regard, it will take years for us to develop.
I did not know anywhere on earth that people have used poverty to overcome poverty, you overcome poverty by wealth creation and to create wealth, you need to be smart, entrepreneurial and need investments,” Former President Kufuor said.
The initiative, which was founded by Richard Ofori-Atta, an entrepreneur and co-founder, Godwin Attiga, an inventor and Cyber Security Analyst based in USA, seeks to provide entrepreneurial skills and provide an opportunity for internship.
The programme, which would be launched in May this year, has two modules, including Business Incubator and Smart Youth Programme, that would offer training in software engineering, digital skills, cybersecurity programme and open data platform to the youth free of charge.
The beneficiaries would have an internship or hands-on training in USA and United Arab Emirates, which would improve their competencies and employable skills.
Former President Kufuor said in view of the high rate of youth and graduate unemployment, it was an opportune time for the youth to avail themselves of the opportunity and make a headway in life.
“I know there is so much unemployment in the country with almost 40 percent of our youth not employed and we even got the Unemployment Graduates Association, and it is something that we shouldn’t be proud of it.
“If the youth are the future of the nation and we got a situation like this, then we have to be truly concerned as citizens or else our future will not be too bright unless there is the solution to the unemployment situation,” he noted.
The Former President said the government was supposed to provide the enabling environment and set the framework, and not necessarily to do business and urged the citizenry to take advantage and be ingenious.
“We often talk about the developed world, but when you go to those places, you will see that it wasn’t the government that started the wealth creation but individual citizens.
“It is the industrialists who laid the rail lines and built the skyscrapers, and also created jobs for other people,” he said.
He mentioned advanced nations such as the USA, Malaysia and South Korea that relied on the private sector to grow their economies.
He urged the Ghanaian youth to take a cue from those countries and have a mindset of self- initiative, instead of being dependent on the government.
The Former President applauded some Ghanaian and African entrepreneurs who pulled the chestnut out of the blazing fire to make a difference in life.
He mentioned accomplished entrepreneurs like Alhaji Aliko Dangote of Nigeria, Dr Osei Kwame Despite and his brother Ofori Sarpong who used their ingenuity to set up a conglomerate of businesses, Sikens, Albert Osei, Effah Edward, Jospong Group of Companies and Mrs Oppong Berko of Manet Real Estates.
Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the Minister of Education, for his part, said the Government would focus more attention on nurturing talents, especially in vocational and technical training.
He said developed countries like Germany, China and Turkey achieved economic successes through skills acquisition, education and training and added that the Akufo-Addo led government was working towards that direction.
Madam Nesrin Bayazit, the Turkish Ambassador to Ghana, gave the assurance that, the Turkish Government would continue to partner Ghana Government to develop the country’s human resource and unearth talents.
She said the Turkish Government has set up a vocational training centre that was supporting training of Ghanaian youth while some Turkish firms had employed some Ghanaian youth.
Mr Steven Blessing Ackah, the First Ghanaian to chair the G200 Youth Summit, and Rahim Banda were outdoored as ambassadors for the Ghana Job Bank initiative.