Jul 15, 2010, 1:40 PM
The Foundation for Future Leaders International a non-profit youth development and advocacy oriented organization based in Ghana recently hosted a sub-regional conference on youth employment in West Africa.
The conference held under the theme “Youth employment-discussing the implementation strategies to address youth unemployment in West Africa” was attended by over 50 participants from across the sub-region.
During a post conference press briefing, Emmanuel Dei-Tumi, executive president of the Foundation for Future Leaders International (FFLI), attributed the high unemployment rate of 18.1 per cent in West Africa to the low levels of education.
Mr. Dei-Tumi in his address noted that the dialogue explored the role of the private sector in the implementation of youth policy frameworks and strategies.
The two-day training conference was aimed at equipping the youths in sub- Saharan Africa to be self employed.
Mr. Dei-Tumi said the private sector should be supported in the implementation of policies and frameworks, as well as protocols concerning youth and employment in the informal sector.
He said the participants were able to identify the importance in tackling youth and employment, which includes curriculum and employability, youth empowerment, funding mechanisms, attitudinal and value change, private sector participation and finally national employment policies.
Mr. Dei-Tumi advised the youth not to allow themselves to be manipulated by politicians, because, “Africa is the only continent we have and the only continent you can live without a visa”.
He commended the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) for partnering with his organization in organizing the event.
According to him, one of the major challenges that has and continues to plague youths in the West Africa sub-region is unemployment.
He said that the problems of unemployment as experienced by the educated youths, and even the less educated but skilled youths, have become more severe in many economies in the sub-region.
The situation has often forced the youth in expending their energies on activities detrimental to their development, he said.
It was also highlighted that while certificate acquisition is important, it is not the end since many University graduates are equally jobless; thus calls for more business orientation among youths.
The private sector in the sub-region was also urged to harness the talents in young people, train them on apprenticeship and redirect their social cooperate responsibility into youth employment schemes.
Dr Mary Chinery Hesse, ex-adviser to former president Kufour, said the private sector could also play an important role by supporting the youth in the implementation of entrepreneurship, ICT and innovation development in the sub-region.
“It is necessary to devise strategies for ensuring that ICT could be harnessed as a broad-based enabler for the improvement of the quality of young job seekers for global competition,” she said.
Meanwhile, the discussants at the conference highlighted the need for more emphasis to be made on entrepreneurship, ICT and innovation.
They also recommended for school curricula to be revisited in order for them to suit the needs of our respective countries and peoples.