For decades, the population of Ghana has been relatively youthful. According to figures from the recently published Population and Housing Census in Ghana, the population growth rate between 2000 and 2010 was 28.1% (Ghana Statistical Service, 2010). The National Population Council observes that although the population of young people is projected to decline in the near future, their continued increase in absolute numbers after 2025 poses a challenge to the country.
In respect of this high percentage, the future growth of the population could cause serious conflicts if the state does not respond with efficient policies and programs particularly in the field of education, health, skills training and employment. The very successful economies in the world today are knowledge based, and if Ghana is to compete, the state will have to spend more on various forms of education for our youth whilst keeping them healthy.
A World Bank survey in 2011 showed that about 40% of those who joined rebel movements said they were motivated by lack of jobs. Aware of this, and other challenges facing the youth, the government of Ghana ratified the African Youth Charter, as a measure of its commitment towards molding the youth of today into the big decision makers of tomorrow.
Government in pursuance of its investment in the youth launched the National Youth Policy in August 2010 on the theme, “Towards an Empowered Youth, Impacting positively on national development.’’ Since then, government has worked through its agencies and with the youth to breathe life into the Policy document. A lot of significant milestones including the ratification of the African Youth Charter as well as the acceptance of the incorporation of a ‘’youth clause’’ into the national constitution through the Constitutional Review White Paper have been achieved. Ensuring comprehensive policies and programs to support youth development is an important objective for the National Youth Authority.
The NYA’s overall objective is to secure improved livelihoods for the youth. This cannot be achieved without partnership with Youth focused or youth-led groups, donor community, ministries, departments, agencies and the media. This action and implementation plan acknowledges the strategic partnership role of all stakeholders.
The young people of Ghana have to take advantage of the numerous opportunities and interventions in this action plan for their positive development. The National Youth Authority is looking forward to an exciting collaboration with the youth, development partners, and other stakeholders in building a better country where there is equal access to opportunities irrespective of age, gender or religion.