Dr Eugene Owusu, the Special Advisor to the President on SDGs, Wednesday, urged African leaders to fully leverage the creativity, talent and innovation of the youth towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in record time.
He said Africa’s youth were an asset and a driver of growth, innovation. They were also at the forefront of the transformational initiatives that were changing the continent with their actionable programmes, which they were backing with implementation.
Dr Owusu made the call, when he addressed on the opening of the three-day Second African Youth SGDs Summit in Accra, on behalf of the President. The Summit is on the theme: “Partnership With Youth to Achieve the SDG’s: Moving From Policy to Actions”.
The annual gathering of African youth to mobilise and inspire active participation towards the implementation of the SDGs is supported by the UNFPA and some development partners.
They would discuss sustainable development and consider the demography of the continent today in achieving the SDGs.
The SDGs was adopted three years ago by the Community of Nations and the attainment of these extraordinary goals require the efforts and actions of all segments of society, governments, businesses, civil society, traditional leaders and the youth, who are have a greater stake in the goals.
“If we are to succeed on the SDGs agenda and leave no one behind, we must maximise the substantive engagement of the youth around the entire SDGs value chain-the advocacy initiatives, the planning processes, the implementation and the monitoring of the goals,” Dr Owusu stated.
Dr Owusu said there was a sense of hope in Africa’s youth and advised that this should inspire all to work assiduously towards achieving the goals.
He said the President, also the co-chair of the UN Secretary-Generals Eminent Group of Advocates for the SDGs, in fulfilling his commitment, would continue to prioritise actions in the central role of private sector and businesses.
He would also place critical importance on identifying and mobilising innovative financing to achieve the goals.
Dr Owusu said the Government would fully unleash the potential of women, connect the energies and creativity of the youth to the SDGs agenda and attach critical importance to data and innovation to achieve the goals.
Professor George Gyan-Baffour, the Minister of Planning, observed that the continent’s youth bulge could be advantageous if nations invested in them; or become a liability when neglected.
Speaking on the need to empower the youth, he said the Government was building an economy that was characterised with huge investments in innovations, skills training and job creation to cater for their needs.
He said the Government had also established the National Entrepreneurship Innovation Plan (NEIP) to provide support and advice the youth to commence various businesses and work tirelessly towards economic growth and prosperity.
He called on the Civil Society to provide the requisite checks and balances to ensure that the outlined policies and programmes yielded the desired results.
“The implementations of the SDGs would undoubtedly contribute immensely towards achieving the targets of the SDGs and reduce poverty in the country and across Africa,” he said.
Mr Emmanuel Ametepeh, the Convenor of the Summit, said this year’s summit had mobilised more than 420 youth across 38 Africa countries to dialogue and share ideas to increase their investments and participation of young people.
Development partners in their solidarity messages urged African countries to invest in the youth in all spheres of the economy to champion the act of moving from policy action.