The National Youth Authority (NYA) says it is currently strategising on how to boost the economic development of the youth by changing them from job chasers to job creators who can create profit for themselves under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Chief Executive Officer Pius Hadzide told Business24 in an interview at a youth entrepreneurship summit in Accra that the authority has taken a cue from the 2022 budget which seeks to provide the right state-backed investment climate for entrepreneurship and job creation.
“As an authority, we want young entrepreneurs and manufacturers to leverage the AfCFTA and the opportunities it guarantees all players of the market, and so we’re continually building education around it,” he said.
Mr. Hadzide said the NYA has already rolled out a number of initiatives, such as the recently held Youth Connect Africa Summit, as a way of creating synergies and connections between young Ghanaians and their counterparts across the continent.
“We believe that to be able to deepen integration and create the connections and linkages, young Ghanaian producers and entrepreneurs will have to leverage these initiatives to scale up their business,” he added.
The NYA boss further asked young entrepreneurs seeking to access the single continental market to place technology at the heart of their operations.
“Technology is a platform that we [young entrepreneurs] have to leverage to be able to reach out across Africa. It’s a necessary part of the development process and we cannot do without it,” he indicated.
He added: “The Ghanaian entrepreneur should be ICT-savvy; that is the only way they can compete. We are in a globalised world, and COVID-19 has further exemplified the usefulness of technology.”
The one-day youth entrepreneurship summit, on the theme “Amplifying the voice and support for the youth, women and SMEs in the AfCFTA”, convened young Ghanaian businessmen and relevant state agencies in entrepreneurship and trade promotion to discuss the existing support systems aimed at enhancing the capacity of youth-led enterprises in the AfCFTA.
“Our key focus is to ensure that the support that the young people need to trade will be available to them—all the things they need to be available for them to produce more and trade more, because AfCFTA opens doors and markets,” said Solomon Adjei, Executive Director of the Ghana Startups Network, the summit organiser.
“It will be important that we have some discussions to engage the people who are in charge to know the various support and initiatives in place for young entrepreneurs,” he added.