General News of Friday, 17 January 2014

Source: XYZ

Africa must invest in her youth – Ras Mubarak

Ghana’s National Youth Authority Coordinator Ras Mubarak says Africa remains globally noncompetitive because the Continent has failed to emulate successful countries and also invest in her young people.

Addressing the 4th Pan-African Summit of Youth Leaders of the United Nations, Mr Mubarak said: “If all the natural resources in Africa have not gotten Africa to be competitive in the global market, it is because we are seeking to reinvent the wheel”.

According to him, “history continues to remind us that it is not natural resources that make nations rich and powerful, but the quality and wealth of human capital a nation can harness to exploit the natural resources”.

“It means investing in people, youth especially. Because if we do not invest in giving young Africans the education, skills and training to be competitive in this 21st century, we will not be able to create jobs and meet the aspirations of our youth”.

He said the impact of youth unemployment on the Continent has been “so profound that, the energies of young people are being misdirected towards crime and violence. It is a dangerous recipe of a melting pot of social tension”.

Touching on HIV / AIDS in Ghana, Mubarak said “Ghana has come a very long way from the mid-80s when the first cases of HIV were diagnosed”.

“Our successes have been as a result of the advancement of scientific knowledge about the virus, but also on the commitment of successive governments, institutions like UNAIDS, the Ghana Aids Commission and the people of Ghana”.

He said in 2012, “new infection among adults went down by sixty-six percent; reduction of death due to HIV infection is down by thirty percent; reduction in new infection among new born babies was recorded at seventy six percent; condom use is below forty percent - and perhaps this is one of the areas we need to double efforts in”.

The ‘Protect the Goal Campaign’ in Ghana has been contextualised to include HIV prevention among the youth in general.

Ghana’s role in fighting AIDS

The PTG campaign in Ghana has adopted Safe Sex adverts in its main campaign platform and is advocating the following three messages 1. Use Condom, 2. Know your HIV status and 3. Reduce sexual partners.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are exceedingly proud to support UNAIDS in addressing HIV/AIDS in Ghana.

The president of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama is the only president in Africa to sign a pledge to support the PTG campaign.

Ghana is the only country in Africa which has committed to collect 100,000 PTG signatures from young people before June 2014.

Fact is, the challenges young people face in Ghana and elsewhere on the continent and the world they live in are very different.

The voiceless young people of Africa deserve your voice. The weak deserve your strength, and the needy deserve your help.

We ignore their needs at the peril of Africa's place in the 21st century. We ignore them and we ignore our future. We ignore them and we ignore our security. We ignore them and we say goodbye to our collective prosperity.

Let us be sincere and put our priorities where the interest of our youths are: We've been talking for too long. What we need at this time, in this 21st century is more action and fewer words. Words are easy to say, but they don't reduce HIV infection or put the youth to gainful employment.

Action is what is required, action on the part of government. But let me be quick to add that African governments cannot do it alone. Responsibility from the youth and support from civil society organizations and families.

Finally, let me announce that Ghana has become the 34th African country to ratify the African Youth Charter. This is the product of our commitment towards helping young people.