Monday, 20 April 2015

We Must Create Opportunities For Young People In Ghana - So They Don't End Up Being Murdered in Killing Fields Abroad

The gruesome and abominable murders of foreigners, including some Ghanaians, in South Africa,  recently, highlights the urgent need for members of Ghana's political class to stop bickering amongst themselves, and work hard and diligently to create opportunities for young people in Ghana.

Many young people travel abroad to places like South Africa, simply because they feel there are no opportunities for them to improve their lives in Ghana - and that to make something of their lives, they must therefore leave our shores.

The regular sinking of boats carrying African migrants who drown in their hundreds in the Mediterranean Sea off the Italian island of  Lampedusa, shows the terrible risks young migrants from Africa face, when they attempt to enter Europe to live and work, without first obtaining visas.

Yet, tens of thousands still make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean in unseaworthy boats.

If things don't change in Ghana soon, and many young people continue to feel alienated from society, because there are no opportunities for them to work in Ghana, we could end up having to deal with the consequences of a huge social explosion, one day.

When government infrastructure projects, such as the contract for the construction of the Kwame Nkrumah interchange being executed by the Brazilian company, M/S Queiroz Galvao Constucao,  are mooted, it is important that our leaders see them as opportunities to lift young unemployed people out of poverty - instead of avenues for wealthy regime-cronies running unethical employment agencies to win lucrative contracts to exploit young people by paying slave-wages: and grow even richer off their backs, by pocketing most of their pay and denying them other benefits paid them by contractors.

There are many simple measures that our leaders can take to create opportunities for young people in Ghana.

Could the ministry of food and agriculture not arrange for the University of Ghana to collaborate with the Bangladesh Agricultural University - and get it to transfer its aquaponics technology here to teach young entrepreneurs how to grow vegetables and farm catfish in greenhouses for domestic and export markets, for example?

And could young people who form cooperatives not grow teak and other tree species in agro-forestry plantations on land degraded by illegal gold miners, which could qualify as REDD+ projects funded by private companies - such as the UK non-profit Profoco and Wildlife Works from the US - seeking developing world clean development mechanism projects to invest in?

Furthermore, now that wooden skyscrapers are becoming fashionable in Europe, could Chiefs in the Western, Central and Volta regions, not collaborate with Dr Jan van Dam's Ecoboard project team at the Wageningen University of Holland, to grow coconuts to process into ecoboards in factories set up for the purpose in those regions, for domestic and export markets?

That could create wealth and jobs in those areas, could it not?

And could that selfsame ministry of food and agriculture not urge Chiefs in the Western Region to invite the biggest supermarket chains in the US, China, Japan and Iran to come to Ghana to establish cocoa processing factories in  joint-venture partnerships (with their land as equity) to produce own-brand organic  chocolate and other organic cocoa products for their supermarket chains  back home?

 Would the US supermarket giant Walmart, not give serious consideration to such an invitation, from Chiefs in the nation that produces the world's best organic cocoa beans, I ask?

Surely, such a development would create jobs for some young unemployed people in Ghana, would it not?

And if those Chiefs from the Western Region also invited  Japanese power companies to come to Ghana to establish joint-venture partnerships  with them to build power plants (again with their land as equity) could that also not help boost our electricity generating capacity too, in addition to creating jobs for sundry engineers, technicians and other skilled workers?

And would such power sector investment not enable factories across the country to be supplied with electricity round the clock - and keep young workers in employment: instead of being laid off because of never-ending power outages?

And if we encourage musicians and film producers in Ghana to  collaborate with their Diasporan counterparts in the US, the UK and Europe, by giving such collaborative efforts tax holidays, would that not create opportunities for many creative types here? The UK's Abeamma Productions' recent collaboration with Ghanaian actors comes to mind.

Finally, in a nation that abounds in young people with amazing raw talent that could be developed to make them globally competitive, if Ghanaian football was not dominated by selfish and sly hypocrites, running the game  for personal gain - who hide behind Sepp Blatter's Soviet-era-politburo-style Fifa to escape scrutiny by the media and football lovers - could many young people in Ghana not find fame and fortune through soccer? Ditto through other sports such as boxing,  tennis, basketball, swimming, etc., etc - if they were also allowed to flourish in Ghana: instead of being dominated by visa-racketeering mafioso?

Let us be imaginative and create opportunities in Ghana for young people to stay at home - so that they do not have to travel abroad to look for greener pastures: and end up being murdered in killing fields abroad.

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