Youth Empowerment Synergy (YES-Ghana) has participated in a consultative meeting on Goal 2 of the Long-Term National Development Plan for Ghana, held in Accra on Tuesday. Participants at the meeting included experts drawn from academia, civil society and other development oriented groups. The meeting reflected on and provided further direction on proposed strategies that emerged after an initial validation meeting organised in September 2016.
The consultative meeting saw presentations from all nine sub-sectors of Group O ne, empanelled by the National Development Planning Committee (NDPC), the body tasked to develop Ghana’s Long-Term National Development Plan. Group One’s objective is to develop a strategy and guidelines that will ‘Create an equitable, healthy, and disciplined society’ for Ghana in the long term.
Reports presented included those from the Culture and Development, Child and Family Welfare, Support for the Aged and Gender Equality sub-sectors. Other reports on Persons with Disability, Population, Youth Development, Sports and Recreation and Social Protection were also presented in the course of the meeting.
The reports took into consideration, the historical perspective of the respective thematic areas, the Ghanaian situational analysis, challenges encountered, recommendations and key areas to be factored into the Long-Term National Development Plan for Ghana. Highlights of post presentation discussions mainly encouraged formulators of the Development Plan to inculcate culture and cultural perspectives of all relevant thematic areas into the Plan to ensure the document takes into consideration the historical perspectives of Ghanaians in charting the way forward.
Professor George Hagan, a former Director of the National Commission on Culture, called on all stakeholders to ensure the culture of Ghanaians is not lost in such a valuable document that is bound to direct Ghana’s development agenda in the long term. He also encouraged that attention be given to religion and an extensive use of the media to project the culture of Ghanaians as well as the Development Plan.
Professor Stephen Kwankye, in his presentation on Population, projected that Ghana’s population of 24.7 million, according to the 2010 census, is expected to balloon to 59.4 million by 2057. Prof. Kwankye also revealed that statistics indicate that although contraceptive use in Ghana has been on the decline, fertility rate is equally low. This disconnect between the two factors, according to experts present at the meeting, could be as a result of the increase in comprehensive abortion care, the decision of some young people to delay marriage, the role of work schedules that results in couples returning home fatigued and abstaining from sex, among other factors.
Dr. Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah, a Sports Consultant, in his presentation, called for a new approach to sports and recreation in the Development Plan. Christened the Golden Age of sports in Ghana, Dr. Owusu-Ansah called for a more holistic approach to sports and recreation to maximise its potential for Ghana, going forward. He also called for a rechristening of the names of Ghana’s sports teams from the Black to Golden. Hence, the rechristening will see the Black Stars changed to Golden Stars, Black Queens to Golden Queens, among others.
Dr. Nana Akua Anyidoho presented on Youth Development, focusing mainly on youth employment and unemployment as well as the role of young people in the governance process. Some challenges identified in terms of youth development and employment included the lack of effective monitoring and evaluation to track progress and impact of youth programmes initiated by the respective ministries, departments and agencies. In terms of involvement of young people in the political process, Dr. Anyidoho pointed out that youth are mostly not involved in the decision making process at the party level, although they are the main forces used in party mobilisation and other activities. She recommended that in solving the youth unemployment situation, an effective tracking system be put in place to centralise data on young people employed in all sectors of the economy, while identifying available sectors for youth to start on their own.
Youth Empowerment Synergy (YES-Ghana) is a member of Group One, tasked to draft the report for Goal 2 of the Long-Term National Development Plan.