Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Hon. Herbert Krapa has indicated that Africa’s youth are smart, daring and innovative; hence governments must look within to surmount the many problems they face regarding lack of economic opportunities resulting in joblessness, access to cheap and long-term credit, information gap, lack of infrastructure and education.
He said the Continental Free Trade Area provides a golden opportunity to overcome these problems.
Hon. Herbert Krapa was addressing YouthConnekt Summit 2021 at the Accra International Conference Centre yesterday where he averred that African governments must continue to create the environment necessary for turning these opportunities into reality.
In ensuring that, he said government of Ghana has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Facilitation Committee to provide strategic direction and coordinate support for implementation; conducted a series of Sensitisation and Orientation Conferences and Seminars across the country; and established a National AfCFTA Coordinating Office to act as a facilitation centre and information hub.
Speaking on the theme; “Africa Beyond Aid, Positioning The Youth For The Covid Aftermath and AfCFTA Opportunities,” he mentioned that the sad devastating effect of the pandemic on global economies has left the more vulnerable people most disadvantaged.
Covid-19, he averred, is teaching nations the hard way to do things differently.
“There is some hope, in the World Bank’s projection of a 3.3% growth rate for the continent. Ballooning health expenditure and shrinking revenue resulting from the pandemic, has culminated into higher fiscal deficit, threatening Africa’s resolve to develop beyond aid.”
According to him, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, and its implementation, is the surest response to some, if not most of our current challenges as it presents a market size of 1.3 billion people with a combined GDP of 3.4 trillion United States Dollars, and nothing can be more important than positioning Africa’s youth to take full advantage of this opportunity.
He noted also that youth unemployment and joblessness have threatened the system significantly and that positioning the youth for the Covid aftermath requires deliberate continental and national policies at the highest level.
“Under the most sterling leadership of His Excellency the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and his indefatigable and young Vice President, Ghana has been up to this task. The Planting for Food and Jobs programme has so far supported young people in Agriculture with inputs for their farms; the One District One Factory initiative has also positioned young people as active participants in the global value chain; and the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme continues to provide support for start-ups and small businesses. It has since its inception some four years ago, trained over 50,000 entrepreneurs; funded over 10,000 businesses and created in excess of 100,000 jobs mainly for young people,” he said.
Herbert Krapa maintained that the African Continental Free Trade Area has the potential to increase Intra-African Trade through harmonisation, export diversification, job creation, and industrial transformation across Africa, foreign direct investment and ultimately inclusive economic growth and development for all of Africa’s people.
He said the Government of Ghana through the Industrial Transformation Agenda is paying particular attention to the challenges faced by the youth and the private sector.
This year's YouthConnekt Africa Summit sought to address a variety of youth issues related to economic, social, and political empowerment of youth in Africa by providing a platform for all partners involved in youth development to synergize around policies, programs and partnerships that position African youth to cater to the AfCFTA and advance regional integration.
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