Africa’s vibrant youth need to be empowered economically

A study conducted by a US-based think-tank has found out that the large-scale movement of people out of sub-Saharan Africa has grown steadily nearly every year since 2010. The survey is of utmost importance to us here in Ghana, since Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya are the biggest sources of migrants to Europe and the United States.

What accounts for this huge chunk of African youth leaving our shores in search of greener pastures? Is the continent a supplier of human resources to the developed world? How can we reverse this trend and ensure the most vibrant and vital of the youth are retained to assist in the task of nation-building? It is sad reflection of lost dreams, and nothing guarantees that they will be gainfully employed.

When queried whether they have plans of migrating in the next five years, 42 percent of Ghanaians responded in the affirmative. That is why we see horrific scenes of Africans drowning in the Mediterranen Sea in such large numbers that it’s frightening and pricks the conscience of every African, particularly our leaders who have failed to create the sort of conducive atmosphere that would retain our youth to help build the nation.

The saddest aspect is that even the most-educated of our youth are all migrating out of the continent to pursue jobs in the developed world because of the conditions at home. If we do not work out some measures for retaining them, then we might as well look for others outside to fill the void created, since the youth represent the future.

It is with this in mind that an aggressive industrialisation drive is being mooted by the Akufo-Addo-led administration with its One District, One Factory policy. Without such specific policies that will address the high rate of youth unemployment, we will sit by and watch the youth pack bag and baggage for misadventures in Europe and the Americas.

We must salvage this deteriorating situation wherein the youth are all looking for better lives in the developed world. Our leaders should create a conducive atmosphere at home to retain the bulk of the youth who are contemplating leaving our shores.