Youth Dialogue with Presidential Candidates

Executive Summary

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Brief Overview of the Youth Situation in Ghana

Ghana has a relatively youthful population, which faces various challenges. The National Population Council observes that, although the population of young people is projected to decline in the near future, their continuous increase in absolute numbers after 2025 poses a challenge to the government. According to the preliminary figures of the Housing and Population Census in Ghana, the population growth rate between 2000 and 2010 was 28.1% (Ghana Statistical Service). 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 programmes particularly in the field of education, health, skills training and employment.

As the much clichéd future leaders, young people represent immense potential as both threat and opportunity. Political leaders demanding change and those seeking to defend the existing order, seek to mobilize young people to their side. Rather unfortunately, the youth are most often than not, left out of the decision-making process in the country. This worrying trend has resulted in successive governments crafting policies and designing youth development programmes without any input from the youth.

 

The first-ever Presidential Youth Dialogue

In a typical election year such as 2012, political parties present manifestoes outlining their agenda for the youth if elected. However, these manifestoes or proposed promises are based on political expediency; another worrying trend. Africa Youth Network (AYONET), 54 Kingdoms LLC, Coalition of Youth Development Organization in Ghana (COYDOG), and other civil society stakeholders believe that young people of Ghana deserved an opportunity to interact with presidential aspirants prior to the December 2012 elections. On Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012, the first-ever Presidential Youth Dialogue was held at the National Theater in Accra, Ghana. This forum was organized as an exclusive meeting between the presidential candidates and the youth of Ghana. The candidates were allowed to present their intended policies/programs to the youth allowing the youth to criticize proposed plans, voice opinions and pose questions in return. The forum was moderated by the legendary Math and Science Quiz Professor of the 90’s, Dr. Marian Ewurana Addy. Ghanaian youths abroad used the opportunity to ask critical questions via social media networks: Facebook, Whatsapp, and Twitter.

The dialogue brought together youth representatives from all ten regions of Ghana to interact with three of the presidential aspirants, who responded to this calling. Flag bearers utilized the platform to present to the youth their intended policies and programs to be implemented should they be elected in the 2012 elections. Issues discussed include: education, employment, entrepreneurship, economic stability, and health care access.

This historical event was organized by AYONET, 54 Kingdoms LLC, COYDOG, and sponsored by Ghana Think Foundation, YES Ghana, Pepsi, Ghana Youth Forum and Yaanom Multimedia, Arik Air, Feint & Margin, and Stages Multimedia.

 

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Close caption  provided by: TV Africa, SKY TV, Daily Graphic, Xfm