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 treat 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. There is very little opportunity for the youth to participate in decision making. This worrying trend has resulted in successive governments crafting policy documents and designing youth development programmes without any input from the youth.
In a typical election year such as 2012, political parties present their manifestoes and in those manifestoes, they outline what they will do for the youth. These manifesto promises are however based on political expediency; another worrying trend. Africa Youth Network (AYONET) & it partners believes that the young people of Ghana deserve an opportunity to interact with presidential aspirants. This then calls for a forum where presidential candidates will meet exclusively with the youth of Ghana and present their intended policies and programmes to them. This forum will be moderated by the Legendary Quiz Professor of the 90’s, Professor Ewurana M. Addy of Brilliant Math and Science Quiz. The youth will then use that same opportunity to ask certain critical questions and possibly make an input into such policies and programmes in order to reflect the general aspirations of the Ghanaian youth.
This forum will bring together youth representatives from all the ten regions of Ghana to dialogue with all presidential aspirants. Flag bearers will use the opportunity to present to the youth their policies and programmes to be implemented should they be elected in the 2012 elections. The youth will then pose questions to the aspirants based on what they have presented and some other critical issues that may not be covered by the aspirants.