Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, former Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, says Africa’s growth depends on the active participation of young people in decision-making.
He said the continent’s political history has taught African leaders to recognize the dangers of keeping young people on the periphery, which could lead to social upheaval and disruption of the pace of development.
Dr Chambas said this at the 12th MTN Pulse Transform Africa Conference and Africa Role Model Award 2021 in Accra.
The conference, organized by the Young Professionals and Youth Coalition, had the theme: “Transforming Africa: the role of the young African leader”.
Dr Chambas said that with more than 200 million people aged 15 to 24, Africa is on the verge of tapping into enormous active resources to transform its fortunes for sustainable development if young people were involved in decision making.
This, he said, placed a responsibility on the young African leader to escape the traps of youth and engage in the best practices of global leadership to transform the continent.
Dr Chambas said Africa needs serious transformational leadership to address the challenges of climate change and COVID-19.
The role of young African leaders, he said, requires innovative and transformational drivers of development to create a new generational path to the future.
“The role of new young leaders also requires effective involvement and participation in the Global Youth Agenda 2030 and 2063 for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” he added.
Dr Chambas urged young entrepreneurs to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area to create jobs and tackle the high unemployment rate in Africa.
Mr. Andy Osei Okrah, President and Founder of the Young Professionals and Youth Coalition (YPYC), said the role of young African leaders would only come to life if the governance architecture and social construction of the continent were woven around core interests of the youth.
He said that the YPYC therefore seeks to network, transform and engage the mindset of young people nationwide in discussions about the importance of leadership and entrepreneurship in achieving national goals. .
Former Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms. Joyce Bawa Mogtari, encouraged young people to adopt the right attitude and be determined to pursue their future aspirations to succeed.
Awards were presented to distinguished individuals who have demonstrated superior skills in transformational leadership in their fields of endeavor.
Dr. Chambas received a plaque in recognition of his exceptional transformational leadership and excellence in international diplomacy and governance.
Ms. Elizabeth Ofosu Adjare, MP for Techiman North, was recognized for her outstanding leadership and excellence in politics and governance, while Ms. Ama Pratt became the global role model of African women and honored for her excellence in empowerment of women.