Businessman and economist, Dr. Kof Amoah, has underscored the importance of young people to the economic transformation of Africa. He stressed that the role of Africa’s youth in nation-building and economic development could only be enhanced if nations invested in quality education and embraced the values of truthfulness, justice, equality, and respect.
Africa has 1.3 billion inhabitants, 60% under the age of 25. And, by 2030, young Africans are expected to constitute 42% of global youth.
Dr. Amoah was addressing nearly 2,500 listeners on a Twitter Spaces event organized by the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and supported by student leaders of other public universities under the theme: “The Youth of Ghana and Nation-Building; the Missing Link.”
This is the first in a series I will be having to address key issues facing Ghana and Africa,” the businessman informed his audience, who included Nigerian youth.
Dr. Amoah noted that political accountability and strong literacy skills were vital prerequisites for national development, and challenged Africa’s youth to be mindful of the missing link between the continent’s complicity in the Atlantic slave trade and colonialism, and
the current state of its economic development.
“What is it in our blueprint, mindset, and understanding of ourselves that made us become slaves? How do you, as a tribe or a
community, align yourself with foreigners to capture your neighbours and sell them into slavery?” he asked.
“How do you sign a bond, in the case of Ghana the Bond of 1844, between the Gold Coast and the British, that lasted for 118 years, to give your sovereignty to another foreign entity to rule over you and own your lands and tax you at will to develop their country?”
Dr. Amoah lamented that workers in Africa received some of the lowest wages in the
world, a situation he said was made worse by a bad compensation structure. He called for a united Africa in which ethnicity, tribalism, and religious bigotry would have no place, noting that it was embarrassing for a continent with the largest fertile lands, water bodies, and the best weather to continue to import food.
“We borrow $1billion to do an infrastructure project, say a flyover, a major road or a hospital, and turn around to award the contract for its construction to a foreign company,” he continued.
“We do this, 66 years after independence because we lack confidence in our own contractors. Our thinking is flawed, and I want you the young ones to wake up.”
The businessman decried Africa’s appetite for mega loans, noting that the practice had driven many economies in to bankruptcy.
“The purpose of education and training is to create the skillsets to do inside your country what needs to be done by yourselves to retain the resources and money inside your economy as the multiplier effect to generate more income and wealth,” Dr. Amoah reminded his audience.
“This will create jobs and taxpayers, a critical source of wealth through which African nations can provide infrastructure for their citizens.”
He stated that people would continue to view Africa as a scar on the conscience of the world until the continent’s youth took urgent steps to redeem its image.
“In order to be able to progress, we must first correct the demerits in our tribal relations, build trust and confidence among ourselves, and inculcate the pursuit of excellence in our daily activities,” the businessman emphasised.
“The task ahead of us can never be greater than the strength within us. Let us go forth and build an African empire.”