African leaders must focus on creation of opportunities for youth — Rawlings

Ghana's former President Jerry Rawlings,Former President Jerry John Rawlings has called on Africa to focus its attention on employing her resources towards the creation of opportunities and jobs for the youth.

He explained that establishing a resilient economy is vital in insulating the continent, especially its youth from infiltration by extremists.

Former President Rawlings was speaking at an international symposium on the theme: ‘Prospects for security in the Sahel-Saharan Strip: What efficient strategy?’ in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

“Africa is experiencing the largest population boom in the world and this demographic trend towards the younger generation with the median age being just 19.7 years old can be a great springboard for a young and vibrant workforce.
“The workforce will drive economic growth and bring in development and we have, however, to see this as a cause for concern,” he noted.

Mr Rawlings pointed out that terrorism is a major distraction for African Governments, citing the fact that if the continent were to unite and make good use of her resources properly she would have the seventh largest economy with a GDP of $2.39 trillion.

“Instead of focusing on how we can build our continent by making the utmost use of our natural resources, how we can fight against the pillaging of these resources or how to provide better healthcare, education, roads or build a resilient economy, we are forced to be preoccupied with this phenomenon of terror on the continent.
“We have to shift our attention to defence and security, much to the detriment of socio-economic development and this inevitably leaves Africa at a disadvantage with her growing numbers,” former President Rawlings lamented.
He indicated that Africa is being prevented from focusing on a developmental agenda due to global disagreements and conflicts which have nothing to do with her.
The United States of America and Europe, he stated, are locked in an ideological and geopolitical fight with the Arab and Muslim worlds which Africa has no business in.
He made historical references to the two World Wars when thousands of Africans were conscripted to fight surrogate battles on half of Europeans powers, leaving Africa distracted and torn and challenged Africa to wake up and recognise that history was repeating itself. –


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