By: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
Mission Africa Incorporated, in collaboration with the Parliament of Ghana, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), and Inland Empire Concerned Pastors California-USA, has held the 19th edition of the annual African Union (AU) Day Prayer Conference in Accra.
The event, which was held in commemoration of the AU Day celebration, had the theme: “Solutions for Graduate and Youth Unemployment”.
Speakers who took turns to address the gathering unanimously called on African governments to prioritise vocational, technical, and youth skills training.
According to them, that is the only panacea to end the rising rate of graduate and youth unemployment.
The main speaker of the day, who doubles as the Founder and President of Mission Africa Incorporated, Dr. Kodjoe Sumney, during his delivery, re-echoed the urgent need for decision-makers in Africa, especially the various presidents, to invest more in the area of technical and vocational education.
According to him, the educational systems being run by most African countries need to be restructured to enable their products to meet industrial and other current job specifications.
He explained that countries like China, Korea, and Japan have become what they are today due to well-calculated policy implementation and the conscious effort exhibited by both past and current leadership to prioritise technical and vocational education.
Dr. Sumney cited China’s achievements in vocational education as one clear model which can be adopted to address the rising unemployment on the continent.
“China’s rapid expansion of vocational education during the last 15 years (between 1980 and 2001), have seen a greater proportion of regular senior high school students opting for vocational education, thus bringing senior secondary education enrollment from 81% to 54.7%.
From l980 to 2001, secondary vocational education institutions produced 50 million graduates, fostering millions of secondary-level and primary-level technical workers, managers, skilled workers, and other labourers with good vocational and technical education,” he stated.
Dr. Sumney continued: “Today thanks to vocational and technical education, China has lifted 800 million out of poverty (10 %) economic growth yearly in all sectors. China had 60 billionaires under the age of 40; this year, 14 new ones joined the billionaire club for the first time in 2020.
The uptick mirrors a wider, unprecedented surge in the fortunes of China’s urban wealthy, with the country now home to 878 billionaires with a combined wealth of $4 trillion. A decade ago, in 2010, the country counted just 189 billionaires.”
Dr. Sumney was of the view that Africa, especially Ghana, can also achieve the same if the right educational reforms are done and more resources are channeled into technical and vocational education.
He maintained that African leaders ought to predict the future of Africa’s economy by analysing both past and present happenings across the globe.
“Persistent global inflation and tighter monetary policies by the Americans and some Western powers have led to higher borrowing costs for sub-Saharan African countries and have placed greater pressure on exchange rates.
Indeed, no country has been able to issue Eurobond since the spring of 2022. The interest burden on public debt is rising, owing to a greater reliance on expensive market-based funding combined with a long-term decline in aid budgets,” Dr. Sumney noted.