The Youth Agenda Series is a 30 Minute TV program that seeks to create a platform where 3 critical subjects that directly bother on Ghana’s youth are discussed and brought to the viewing public and to the attention of youth advocate groups, policy influencers, lobbyists and policy makers. The subjects cover 3 main areas namely
3. Leadership & Governance.
It is widely agreed that, the most critical element of development for any nation around the world is the youth. Research has shown that countries with exponential growth are those who put a high premium in the development of its youth in all the areas of society. In Ghana especially, several literature have been written to advance the welfare of young people and to press for their involvement and participation in the administration of the state. Sadly, due to over politicization and weak political will, little success have been achieved. Less of youth voice and concerns are heard and many of our young people have grown apathetic and unproductive, without a sense of initiative and even worse caught up in certain vices.
Defining Youth & Statistics
According to the 2016 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency about a total of 52.7 percent of Ghana’s population constitute the youth with 18.7percent falling between 15-24years and 33.8percent falling between 25-54years. As well, the National Youth Policy of Ghana defines “youth” as “persons who are within the age bracket of fifteen (15) and thirty-five (35)”. Meanwhile “The 2010 Housing and Population Census put nearly 75% of Ghana’s population at being 35 years old and younger”
These figures underscore how extremely important it is to throw more light on our youth and the need to create a platform that exposes the major issues young people are talking about today in their small corners while at the same time addressing the major developmental concerns of young people in real time.
Today, apart from several literature from our universities and other research institutions that speak to advance the course of our youth, there have been some policies and programs that have been created to further bring enhancement to our young people. One such big policy program is the National Youth Policy (2010) whose vision is “an empowered youth contributing positively to national development”, and to achieve this the policy states the following objectives:
• Empower and actively involve the youth of Ghana in productive activities for individual, community, and national development.
• Enable each Ghanaian youth develop his or her full potential and self-esteem.
• Institutionalize youth participation at all levels of the decision-making process to ensure the nurturing of democratic culture.
• Enable the youth acquire, share and transfer knowledge, expertise, and experience through domestic and international networking and peer-learning.
• Inspire the youth to develop the aptitude for creativity, innovation and self-discovery in improving their quality of life.
• Inculcate in the youth a strong sense of self-reliance, patriotism, nationalism, and volunteerism.
Two years later (2012) an implementation program for the policy was launched with PRIORITY AREAS as follows:
Education and Skills Training; Science, Research and Technology; Information and Communication Technology (ICT); Youth and Employment; Entrepreneurial Development in addition to Youth in Modern Agriculture.
Others include Gender Mainstreaming; the Environment; Health, HIV and AIDS; Networking and Partnership; Mentoring; Arts and Culture; Governance, Democracy, and Leadership as well as Sports and Recreation.
The rest are Youth in Conflict Prevention and Peace Building and National Youth Week.
In addition to such policy programs, there have been frantic efforts by governments in recent years to include some selected young people into our governance process and to in some cases man certain institutions (Youth Enterprise Support where Ras Mubarak is Head) believing that this would arouse more interest and enhance the participation of many young people in state administration.
Some Key Questions
But this is where we stop to ask a few important questions:
• To what extent have these Youth policies and programs been implemented nationwide such that every young person has been made a beneficiary of the objectives behind them? To what extent is the NYP especially acting in the accordance with its stated vision and objectives?
• To what extent are these objectives in sync and representative of the prevalent and dominant concerns of the youth in Ghana?
• To what extent are the youth truly represented in the Country’s Governance Process Today?
• Does having a number of selected young people in government mean there is complete representation and participation of young people in the governance process?