The Minister of Youth and Sports has reiterated the Government of Liberia’s commitment to the development of a comprehensive youth program to empower young people across the country. Minister Saah N’tow stressed the need for vigorous family planning education to keep young people from unwanted pregnancies, which could obstruct or disrupt their learning process.
In an interview recently with The NewDawn at his office on 19th Street in Sinkor, Monrovia after attending a High-level Symposium on the Demographic Dividend and Africa’s Development held in Dakar, Senegal on 20th June he said the United Nations Population Fund or UNFPA in Liberia is playing a very meaningful role in creating opportunity for young people to express themselves and working with the Ministry of Youth and Sports to highlight issues affecting the youth.
The symposium held in Dakar was also attended by Montserrado County District#7 Representative Munah P. Youngblood and Miss Leymah Gbowee, who jointly won the 2011 noble peace prize from Liberia. The objective of the conference was to contribute and provide input towards the 2017 African Union roadmap on the theme, “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in the youth.”
Among world leaders present include former Nigerian President, Dr. Yakubu Gowon; former President of Mozambique Armando Emilio Guebuza, Karl Auguste Offmann, former President of Mauritius, Madam Aminata Toure, Special Envoy to the President of Senega, and Jakaya Kikwete, former President of Tanzania, who represented the African Union, among others.
Minister N’tow said the forum provided an opportunity for the Liberian delegation to compare notes with delegates from other African countries with similar issues affecting young people. “Our presence at the meeting was to compare notes on what is happening in Liberia, and most of the speakers highlighted the need for young people to be involved”, he added.
“Because whatever agenda we are crafting today, it is young people that are going to be in leadership.” He said government, thru the Ministry of Youth and Sports has identified several sectors with opportunities to empower young people, adding that tapping is agriculture.
He named vocational training centers in Klay, Bomi County; Timbuktu in Bong County, and Panama in Sinoe County as institutions established to provide skills training to youth across the country. African leaders at the highest level and in key ministerial platforms have repeatedly acknowledged the importance of the demographic dividend to Africa’s transformative agenda. Over the years, it has become evident that a demographic dividend lens offers a strategic basis for focusing and prioritizing investments in young men and women particularly, in order to achieve sustainable development.
By Jonathan Browne