Bawumia to Ghanaian youth: Stay focused and ignore naysayers

Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia wants the youth to remain focused and also adopt a mindset of openness to possibilities

The vice-president, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has advised Ghanaian youth to develop and always maintain a positive mindset in order to achieve their goals.

“I want you to know that with God and hard work, everything is possible. In life there will be challenges and naysayers. Eschew the naysayers and those who want to distract you and wear you down. Ignore those who talk about impossibilities. Focus your minds, and have a mindset of possibilities. If you put your minds to do it, you can achieve it,” he said.

Dr Bawumia was addressing over 500 young Ghanaians, drawn across the country, at Gomoa Fetteh in the Central Region.

The occasion was the opening ceremony of the Ghana Youth Congress, organised by the Christian Council of Ghana.

The congress, under the theme “Ghana, My Home, My Future”, is the precursor to an African Youth Congress to be organised by the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), which aims to engage Africa’s youth in general, and Ghanaian youth in particular, to build up moral character, explore the opportunities on the continent, and help disabuse their minds of supposed greener pastures elsewhere, a belief that leads to illegal migration and avoidable death.

Recalling his younger days when, among other things, he was the only member of the Tamale Methodist Boys’ Brigade without boots and he “studied” literature without a textbook, and thinking of how today he is a PhD holder and the vice-president of Ghana, Dr Bawumia emphasised:

“Your present circumstances will not determine your future. What will determine your future are your dreams, aspirations and hard work. Work hard, study hard, build yourselves, and you will make it. I don’t see why Ghana and Ghanaian youth cannot be among the best in the world. I know you can do it.”

Revitalising skills

Expanding on the role of the youth in nation-building, Bawumia observed that approximately 67% of Africa’s population is reportedly under the age of 29. He described how governments on the continent, including the Government of Ghana, are exploring ways to help the youth develop their talents and capabilities to meet Africans’ aspirations for growth.

“With an estimated six million young people joining the labour force by 2024, the surest way to a sustainable employment path would not come from ‘waiting for a job’, but rather by encouraging ourselves to apply our creativity and skills towards building opportunities across various fields.

“The government of President Akufo-Addo’s target is to train our graduates to acquire the needed skills required for the job market in future. Some of the initiatives include an ongoing stakeholder engagement for skills revitalisation in several sectors of the economy, such as banking and tourism.

“As well, the construction and modernisation of all National Vocational Training Institutes (NVTIs) and Opportunity Industrialisation Centres (OICs) is ongoing, with 17 technical and vocational institutes across the country being upgraded and modernised so far.”

Shedding more light on the aggressive digitalisation agenda being pursued by the government, Vice-President Bawumia said it is expected that about nine million jobs in Ghana will require digital skills by 2030. Information/communications technology infrastructure and capacity development programmes to provide digital training and upskilling of these young people to equip them for the future are critical, he said. Hence the installation of telecommunications towers in remote communities, the training of ICT teachers to become trainers in turn, and the operationalisation of the Ghana Digital Centres.

Thanking the Christian Council of Ghana for their “massive contribution to our nation’s growth and development”, including the organisation of the Ghana Youth Congress, Dr Bawumia had these parting words for the young people:

“To the youths that are here today and all Ghanaian youths, I would encourage you to be open-minded to see the numerous opportunities in this era of globalisation in a digitised environment. Only diligent and hard-working youth would be rewarded in this new global economy,” the vice-president said. “Remember, the sky is no longer your limit: it is now your starting point.”

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