Congratulations are in order to the people of Ghana for peaceful elections.
Despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns with political vigilantism, Ghana’s political actors, national institutions, civil society organisations, and the public at large showed their commitment to deepening democracy and to preserving peace and stability in the country and the sub-region.
The upholding of an earlier signed peace pact between the two front-runners for the presidential seat is worth emulating in all parts of Africa.
Ghana’s youth have also been at the forefront of campaigns and actions to shape peace with support from the National Peace Council and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
As we look to 2021 and beyond, it is noteworthy that Ghana’s reputation as a stable democracy bears profound implications for Ghana’s youth.
This stability underpins progressive programs over the years including ongoing pro-youth initiatives to create a legacy that will last for years to come.
As a result, Ghana’s innovation culture is spreading across the country, thanks to a growing number of young people who are keen on providing home-grown solutions to local problems.
The personal backing of President Akufo-Addo and leading private sector institutions have been instrumental in this.
Importantly, the Presidential Pitch, a special entrepreneurship initiative offering young Ghanaians aged 35 years and below an opportunity to pitch innovative ideas to attract funding to further their businesses, is worth mentioning.
It demonstrates the highest level of commitment that the government has towards supporting youth.
Not to mention that the initiative is a joint venture by the Ministry of Business Development and the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP).
Such support to strengthen the ecosystem for innovation seems to inspire young people to come up with ground-breaking initiatives that are helping to foster creative development solutions.
Take for example the two brothers from Kumasi, Richard Kwarteng Aning and Jude Osei, who, in early 2020, developed a solar-powered hand washing basin to promote personal hygiene and slow down the spread of Covid-19.
The most impressive aspect of the equipment is that in addition to the sensor and soap dispenser, it also has a timer that makes users wash their hands for at least 20 seconds as recommended by health experts, including the US Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The government is proud of the innovation and is expected to lead the roll-out of the units to communities across the country.
At UNDP, we have taken note of the increasing inventiveness of young people in Ghana.
Recently, on December 23, winners of the 2020 Waste Recovery Innovation Challenge were announced following calls for concept notes in June 2020.
The event sought to explore unique and sustainable solutions to plastic waste recovery and management in Ghana, with special consideration being given to projects that contribute to Covid-19 response and recovery.
The challenge, organised by UNDP, under the auspices of the “Plastic Waste Recovery for a Circular Green Economy in Ghana” project, with funding from the Coca-Cola Foundation (TCCF) and in partnership with Waste Recovery Platform, aimed at providing technical and financial support to business solutions and strategies around plastic waste recovery and management.
The ideas that came through were brilliant. Therefore, the concepts by the four young people who won the awards can only be termed as exceptional.
They are practical, a demonstration that young people can drive a country’s development by not only thinking outside the box but also using available and therefore affordable local resources to provide sustainable solutions.
The UNDP Human Development Report launched in December 2020 calls on countries to urgently use Covid-19 recovery as an “opportunity for harnessing the transformation called for by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals”.
Investing in our young people is the key to unlocking the much needed development. Ghana has a head start and the government and the business sector should increase the tempo of support to innovations by young people.
Today, more than ever, we need to more intensely invest in the potential of Ghana’s young entrepreneurs and innovators. This is the surest way of creating more jobs in a country where the youth struggle to find work.
It is notable that the three-year Ghana CARES programme – the GHȻ100 billion post-Covid-19 initiative the government launched in November 2020 “to stabilise, revitalise and transform Ghana’s economy to create jobs and prosperity for Ghanaians” as stated by the Ministry of Finance – factors in this reality.
It is time to walk the talk.
The writer is the Resident Representative of UNDP in Ghana.
- I was slapped, kicked in the groin by National Security officials – Citi FM’s Caleb Kudah recounts ordeal
- Over 90% of ‘rotten’ vehicles at National Security premises distributed – Former MASLOC boss
- Citi FM journalist broke GJA code of ethics by filming at National Security premises – Affail Monney
- Uber, Bolt, Yango drivers in Kumasi suspend services over life-threatening incidents
- Don’t shake your car when fueling – Transport Consultant
- Citi FM journalist, Caleb Kudah released from National Security custody
- I will resign from Parliament if anyone proves that I promised to fix any road – Sam George
- Cape Coast airport to be completed before end of second term – Transport Minister assures
- Banks cannot be blamed for not accepting new Voter ID cards – Association of Bankers
- #FixTheCountry: Be measured in your expectations of Akufo-Addo due to Covid-19 – Chief of Staff
CSIR wants recognition for research works
Femi Kuti speaks after father, Fela, missed out on 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction
The neglected woman with a neglected disease
GPL wrap – Medeama and Bechem United lose at home for the first time as Hearts close gap at top
Smith Rowe benefits from Jorginho error as Arsenal win at Chelsea
Atletico two wins from league title after victory over Sociedad
PSG win on penalties to reach French Cup final
GOC insists Herbert Mensah is still president of Ghana rugby
NSMQ2021: Wa SHS qualifies to national championship for the first time in 20 years
Citi FM journalist committed no crime in filming at National Security premises – Samson Anyenini
I was slapped, kicked in the groin by National Security officials – Citi FM’s Caleb Kudah recounts ordeal
Fela Kuti misses out on 2021 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction
Tina Turner and Jay-Z among 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees
TVET must be a national agenda – Dr Turkson
Chief of Staff urges public institution PROs to dominate public information discourse