This article is an opinion !
On behalf of the Youth of Ghana, Africa and the World, I present this Youth Pledge in Honor of Busumuru Kofi Annan. I call this A Global Platform to Remember a Global Citizen.
On 16th August, 2002, sixteen years ago, I remember seeing #KofiAnnan for the first time, when I accompanied my mother to the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi at a special occasion organized by the Asante Kingdom, to confer the highest title of “BUSUMURU’’ (or the son of the Golden Stool) on him. Since the Asante Kingdom was founded in 1680, this was a historic moment, a title reserved for and used by the Asantehene was given to another person and to a Fante.
In his acceptance speech, Busumuru Kofi Annan said “I share this honor with all good people of this world through whose contributions we are able to get somewhere’’.
After the ceremony, I visited Asem Boys M/A School in Fante-Newtown a suburb of Kumasi, where Busumuru completed his elementary school and I felt his charming soul to share such honor with everyone including young-people. Busumuru made me proud as an African and a Ghanaian youth.
In 2013 at Skoll World Forum, #Busumuru-Kofi Annan made an important youth pledge and I would like to quote and remind us of his commitment to the youth of this 21st Century:
- ‘’ I (Busumuru-Kofi Annan) began the ‘Kofi Annan Dialogues’, a series of online conversations with young people: they(youth) show just how much young people have to offer if they’re given the opportunity to step up and take on leadership roles’’ by Kofi Annan
This reminds us to connect with the youth using appropriate digital platforms both online and offline for greater good and providing space for the youth in communities to lead and contribute.
- ‘’ Just Imagine what solutions might be found if young-people are given the space and encouragement to participate and lead’’ by Kofi Annan
A young mind is full of creativity and when young people are provided with tailored training and mentorship that are required to participate fully in this digital economy,our communities and countries benefit from their solutions. For example, I’m happy to see a student-led initiative on plastic recycling being implemented in all halls of residence of the University of Ghana under the auspices of the Vice Chancellor’s Green Project. This has received full support of the Vice Chancellor: thank you. The youth need more of such support in our communities to contribute.
- ‘’ Any society that does not succeed in tapping into the energy and creativity of its youth will be left behind’’ by Kofi Annan
I would to ask: are we engaging the youth? And to what extent are we using their ideas/solutions in our communities for development and in our productive areas?
- ‘’ When it comes to formulating innovative ideas and galvanizing action it is clear the we(older generations) have much to learn from young people” by Kofi Annan
In this digital economy, we need to provide digital skills training to young-people. For example, on the average Ghanaian mostly young-people spent 3 hours 30 minutes online using his/her phone each day in Ghana. Therefore, provided with 21st century skills, the youth will be able to develop innovative products and services that are relevant to industries and to the social sector.
- ‘’Globally, young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adult population’’ by Kofi Annan
The changing nature of work, presents us with opportunities to prepare young people with skills that are transferable across jobs and enterprises. Providing digital skills training to the youth will significantly reduce youth unemployment, improved productivity, value-addition and creates sustainable jobs and enterprises.
It’s worth noting that Busumuru Kofi Annan started working for the World Health Organization in Geneva in 1962 of the United Nations at the age of 23 years. Indeed, Busumuru Kofi Annan was a global citizen, he provided opportunities and empowered young-people who are achieving their goals and making our communities great.
- ‘’Young-people are not apathetic or disengaged; they(youth) are simply savvy enough to know that we(older generation) are not listening to them” by Kofi Annan
Busumuru Kofi Annan encourages us to pay attention to young-people and listen to them, if we want to strive and thrive in this technology, innovation and entrepreneurial-led society.
On this note, When I asked my fellow -young-people on Twitter and followed their tweets on Busumuru, it shows : ‘’Everywhere he went and Everyone who met or listen to @KofiAnnan, has a common thing to say: Busumuro #KofiAnnan had a human feeling & kindness to empower people. His legacy lives on, with such infectious #impact in the lives of #young and old.
Let’s Make a Youth Pledge to Support Young-people, as Busumuro Kofi Annan led by Example
#BusumuruKofiAnnan still inspires me and this empowers me(Akwasi Sarpong) not to expire. THANK YOU
Author : Akwasi Sarpong, Accra- Ghana Twitter: @SarpongAkwasi1