A Renowned global development economist, Professor Sir Paul Collier, has called on Africa to prioritize the development of its youthful population by creating a promising future for them.
According to him, the new opportunity for Africa was its youthful demography as the rest of the world was basically becoming short of youth, indicating that Africa could take advantage of such an opportunity by changing its structures of activities to accommodate the youthful population.
That, he said, would enable the continent to be a major supply of labour force to other part of the world to enhance its progress.
Sir Collier said this in his address at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) public lecture series in Accra held on the theme: “Africa: Old Impediments, New Opportunities”.
The lecture was organised as part of the IEA’s mission to promote good governance in Ghana and across Africa.
“According to the United Nations, Africa’s youth population is growing rapidly and is expected to reach over 830 million by 2050. Whether this spells promise or peril depends on how the continent manages its youth bulge,” he stated.
Prof. Sir Collier, who is also the current Director of the International Growth Centre and the Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University, further cautioned Ghanaians to be pragmatic in the management of their natural resources to ensure that every sector of the economy would benefit.
“Don’t borrow on the essence of the oil and spend it on consumption. Don’t borrow and consume, save and invest. Ghana has many natural resources which could potentially be harnessed to build opportunities for the future,” he stated.
He called for the creation of a proper framework for the nation’s natural resources to generate enough income for its socio-economic development, adding that the governance of the nation’s natural resources was in the hands of Ghanaians and not its development partners.
Judicious use of resources
The Paramount Chief of the Essikado Traditional Area in the Western Region, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, also stated that it wasn’t appropriate for Ghana, with enough resources, to be entangled with poverty, adding that “if you walk on gold and you are still stained with poverty, it means there is something absolutely wrong with your head.”
He called for the judicious use of the nation’s natural resources for the benefit of the country to ensure the improvement on life conditions of each individual.