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General News of Monday, 23 September 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Let’s make Africa attractive for youth - Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said African leaders and governments must work to make the continent attractive for the youth.

That, he said, would create more opportunities for people to live, work and create wealth and prosperity in Africa.

Speaking at a lecture at the Princeton University in the United States last Friday, the President said Africa was endowed with tremendous natural resources that could form a base for processing and allied downstream manufacturing industries to thrive and create jobs.

“The irony is that Africa should really not be in this conundrum. There are good reasons we should be able to get ourselves out of the hole and onto the path of hope and prosperity. Indeed, as the theme rightly states, the future is African, and properly so.

“There can be no argument that if properly harnessed and efficiently and honestly managed, there are abundant resources on the continent to finance Africa’s development,” he stated.

Benefits

President Akufo-Addo said with Africa in possession of more than half of the world’s uncultivated arable land, sustained investment in agriculture through the application of technology, especially digital technology, could yield enormous benefits for the continent and global economies in the provision of foodstuffs and diversified agro-based economic activities.

“Food security for African people will be assured, and the billions of money currently spent on the importation of food could be channelled into other sectors such as infrastructure,” he added.

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He said Africa’s youthful and growing labour force was estimated by the United Nations to reach about a quarter of the world’s population in 2050 and a third of the world’s youth population.

“The empowerment of this young population, with access to education and skills training, will constitute a very powerful tool for economic development in Africa and the world,” the President said.

As a result of growing industrialisation and the emerging structural transformation of African economies, he said, African countries were becoming more involved in the high-end of the global value chain, trading in both final and intermediate manufacturing products.

“Under these assumptions, by 2030 we could be talking of an African export market of some three trillion US dollars. You don’t need to be an optimist to acknowledge that Africa is where there is room for growth and the future is, indeed, African,” President Akufo-Addo added.

Continental Free Trade Area

He also said the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) would bring all 54 markets, covering 1.2 billion people, into a single market, adding that it would be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

“The CFTA will provide the vehicle for us to trade among ourselves in a more modern and sophisticated manner; it will offer a huge opportunity to exploit the abundant wealth and resources of our great continent for the benefit of all our people, and it will also give us protection in dealing with other trading blocks.

“I must add that it is a matter of great pride for us that Ghana has been selected by its peers to play host to the Secretariat of the AfCFTA, the first time in our nation’s history we have been given the privilege and responsibility of hosting an important pan-African institution,” President Akufo-Addo said.

He, however, said for the free trade area to be viable, there must be peace and stability on the continent.

“For a continent hitherto plagued by conflict, we have resolved to end all wars by 2020 and silence the guns. This is an ambitious target, but we are determined to employ all means to realise it. Nothing undermines the possibilities of our continent more than being known as unstable and, unfortunately, our politics has been the main source of the spark for instability,” he added.