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Opinions of Monday, 6 October 2014

Columnist: Akpah Prince

Focus on African Young Acheivers- Jonathan Adzokpe

Jonathan Agbozo was born in Ashaiman a suburb of Tema in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana but grew up in ZongoLaka. He started his basic education at the Mothercare School Complex and completed his junior education (JHS) at the Sun Star Preparatory all in Ashaiman and came out as the best student during my year group. At Keta Secondary school, he read General Science and during his second year, he sat for the private examination (Nov/Dec) which he attained grade 7. After his secondary education, he went to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) for his bachelor studies in Petroleum Engineering. He is currently studying his master’s programme in Petroleum Engineering at the University of Stavanger in Norway.

As part of his achievement, he was given a scholarship as the best student in Keta Secondary school by the Ghana Government Scholarship to finance his education throughout his stay in the school. In his first year, he won a Prize in the Science, Technology and Mathematics Education (STME) class in 2004. He was also the first runner up in his class at KNUST and currently on a master’s scholarship by the World Bank’s Oil and Gas Capacity Building Initiative due to his sterling academic performance.

He is into an entrepreneurial venture which is still at the infant stage. His entrepreneurial journey started when he was offering his National Service as a Teaching Assistant in KNUST. He began to sell recharge cards in his hostel because he realized they (students) had to walk long distances from their hostel to town just to buy credit. His inspiration to sell recharge cards came from his friends who shared the idea to help reduce the stress of walking long distances to buy credit.

He said “my passion is a long story because it was a lesson I learnt somewhere in my second year while at KNUST. In my second year, my father (a commercial driver) all his life got sick of typhoid fever and spent all he had on his medical bills. I almost drop out of school because I had no one to pay my fees. But miraculously, we got introduced to this man who runs his own business in Accra. He paid my school fees from then till my final year. And I am not the only one whose school fees he pays; he does so for many others. It was from then I vowed to myself to do to others as he did to me. And I believed one of the vehicles to make good money was entrepreneurship; building my own businesses and investing the profits in people who need financial support for their education. That is my greatest passion”.

He stated that, “the journey has not been an easy one. Entrepreneurship requires a strong mind to handle risk, losses, and failure. Just a few months ago, we lost a 12-acre farm to drought. If we were successful, we would have cashed in a five-figure profit margin. But that is entrepreneurship for you. Today you may lose, tomorrow you win but you don’t have to give in when you lose. You’ve got to learn from the mistakes, though painful, and move on. Life goes on”.

“Agribusiness that is, is the lack of technology to drive growth and help curb the incidences of post-harvest losses that many farmers in the country have had to face. I believe this is a major bane to our growth agriculture-wise. If we can think out a workable strategy and implement it to the fullest, I believe Ghana and Africa for that matter should be a sustainable food basket for the rest of the world within the next 20 years’ he advised.

His achievement is the employment he has generated in the process, which has put food on the table of the young men they have had to employ in their farming business. He said, “Profits are good but what does it profit a company if it gains all the profit and does not influence society in the process”.

Agriculture is not for the poor or aged. If the youth can wholeheartedly do it with all their might, and apply the latest technology, I believe there will be a revolution on the continent. That is what I am committed to impacting to the youth he stated.

His biggest failure in life was the day he had a 5-acre water melon farm barely ten days ready for the market, when his clients were ready to come to the farm to purchase the fruits. He received a call from his farm manager that some stray of cattle from nowhere, about a hundred of them, had destroyed every single fruit on the farm. Although it was sad, he learnt so much from that loss, and committed to get better in the future.

He said education is the backbone of every growing economy. Without education, we can’t get to our Promised Land. Education is at the center of my passion, and thus why I have committed to sharing knowledge in the capacity of a teacher, speaker, and writer. I have set a personal life-time goal for myself to see 10,000 children or students through school that I dub Operation 10,000 children students to school. I’ve written it on a card and placed on my desk. It reminds me of my commitment to the education of the youth especially. To see this dream come true, he is currently sponsoring a student in the senior high school and prays to do more to achieve the goal of sponsoring10, 000 students.

In rebuilding Africa, he believes that to change Africa, it starts from us. When we begin to change our minds and attitude towards how we perceive certain things, our rebuilding process will be a fast track one. He wants to be part of the foundation builders of the rebuilding of Africa. He currently host Nash Radio’s flagship talk show program dubbed, “Motivational Arena” where recently, has invited experts from various fields to share their thoughts on issues regarding leadership, mentoring, and career choices and planning.

What we lack as a continent is knowledge therefore, he has dedicated a platform for sharing knowledge, to empower and elevate us in our various endeavors. He is a writer who writes on entrepreneurship, Africa, and society. His future plan is to create an agribusiness hub where we do not only cease depending on imported foods, but we also export to the rest of the world.

One of his mentor is Pastor; Samuel Aderemi who heads the Dayspring Parish of RCCG in Stavanger. He straightens him up on regular basis as a father and pastor. Rev. Albert Ocran has also mentored him especially in his writing. Even though they are separated by distance, he started a writing academy on Facebook which he was a member and that was where his writing skills were polished and seen tremendous improvement. His gratitude went to God, his parents and all his friends who have in one way or the other been a motivation to him.

If am to be ranked by Forbes or Time Magazine I would like to be recognized as one of the most influential persons in the world. That will bring me a sense of fulfilment that what I do is seen and appreciated by all he stated. He went on to advice the youth to believe in God, be ready to work hard for their desire, and always value people for they are the greatest resource they need for success in life.

Thank You

Akpah Prince

akpahprince@ymail.com