Today is being commemorated throughout the world as International Youth Day. The Centre for Social Impact Studies (CeSIS) congratulates all youth in Ghana for their invaluable contributions to the development of the nation, even in the face of daunting challenges.
The African Youth Charter defines youth as anyone between the ages of 15 and 35 with Africa having the youngest population in the world with more than 400 million young people. Approximately, about 57% of the Ghanaian population are under 25 years and Ghana’s median age of 21.5 years indicates a very youthful population. Ironically, in spite of this high number, the youth are also the least represented at all strata of decision making.
As the theme of this year’s celebration states, “Intergenerational solidarity: Creating a world for all ages”, CeSIS wishes to call attention to the fact that ageism impacts youth in ways that prevent them from reaching their full potential and effectively contributing to national development. We believe that age should not be a barrier that prevents anyone from participating in decision-making.
As a youth-focused research and advocacy organization operating within Ghana’s extractive space, CeSIS calls on government to ensure that policies and programmes are implemented to promote the participation of the youth in mining communities in the extractive sector. This will, no doubt ensure that we will be able to sustain our economic gains in the extractive sector. Furthermore, this will also reduce the level of youth unemployment in mining communities with its attendant boom in illegal mining that has taken away many lives.
As the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo launches the National Youth Policy today, it is our hope that this new policy will help address the numerous conflicts that have characterized the relationship between the youth in mining communities and their host mining companies. For instance, this year we have witnessed violent demonstrations by some youth in Obuasi against AngloGold Ashanti, the multinational mining company operating in the community. Similar demonstrations have been recorded in other mining communities across the country. As we find solutions to these conflicts whose outcomes have been damaging to both the mining companies and the communities, it is imperative that dialogue with the youth in these mining communities is prioritized.
Getting the youth involved at the various stages of the extractive industry is a sure way to ensure sustainable development in the sector. We all must play our part to create a nation where age will not be used as a barrier to prevent anyone from reaching their full potential and positively impacting the nation.
Congratulations to all GhanaianYouth!
Robert Ali Tanti
For More information:
Robert Ali Tanti (Executive Director)
Eric Anaane Ndebugri (Programme Officer)