President John Dramani Mahama says government will in the next few days launch a major fund to support access to business financing by young people who are desirous of engaging in entrepreneurship.
Government will provide a GHC 10m cedi seed capital for the Jobs and Enterprises Fund which will also be addressing funding frustrations of young and local businesses.
The fund will be administered at Jobs and Enterprises Centres (JEC) to be established across the country to ease the burden on job seekers and first-time young businessmen and women.
President Mahama who made the announcement at the 1st National Youth Achievers Awards in Accra over the weekend said the move is expected to add to several interventions by government to address youth unemployment in Ghana.
Young achievers who have excelled in 26 different fields of endeavor were rewarded at the ceremony.
They were selected by a 10-member jury led by the Secretary-General of the Pan African Writers Association, Prof. Atukwei Okai who screened more than 250 entries among Ghanaian youth both home and abroad.
Former senior national team captain, Stephen Appiah took the award for youth leadership while the Chief Executive of Beige Capital, Michael Henaku and the Managing Director of Eugo Terrano, Eunice Ogbogu emerged the overall National Youth Personalities, male and female respectively.
Other award winners included young ace investigative journalist, Anas Aremiyaw Anas and 2011 GJA Journalist of the year, Manasseh Azuri Awuni who emerged joint winners in the Media Excellence category.
A high point of the event was when President Mahama offered to personally decorate two physically challenged ladies, Farida Afua Bedwei and Ajara Mohammed for Special Award and RLG Award for ICT recipient, Derrydine Dadzie.
Other award winners included Shirley Frimpong Manso for Film; Hiplife Musician Sarkodie and Becca for Music
The ceremony was attended by several Ministers of State and Deputies as well as Chief Executives of some state and private organizations.
President Mahama said expansion of models, re-organisation and transformation of the erstwhile National Youth Employment Programme to become the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA) has created employment for 200,000 youth nationwide since the NDC government assumed office in 2009.
He said an additional 5,000 jobs have been created for young people in the savannah accelerated development authority (SADA) enclave).
The president said government had amply demonstrated its avowed interest in persons with disability by the execution of the PWDs ICT project intended to give ICT and related training to 20,000 PWDs in phases.
The President also announced government will next month distribute 100,000 laptops to tertiary institutions across the country to promote research and development while frantic efforts are being made to expand ICT infrastructure at all levels of education.
“The NDC government’s position on education has always been in favour of access and quality. We are convinced the job market will require the highest quality of educated and trained personnel to stimulate growth in our economy. Government’s programme to supply 60,000 laptops to basic schools is intended to ensure pupils, students and teachers are not left out of the ICT world”, the president said.
He asked the youth to resist attempts by politicians to use them for selfish political gains as the country approaches the December 7 general elections while pledging the commitment of government to ensure peaceful polls.
The Chief Executive of Rlg Communications, Roland Agambire explained the company’s decision sponsor the awards scheme “is only to demonstrate our passion and commitment towards hardworking, commitment and innovative young persons.
He cautioned the youth against destructive tendencies destructive tendencies such as sycophancy, laziness and corruption”.
He reiterated his pledge to create jobs for one million youth within the next five years.
The idea for the National Youth Achievers Awards scheme was mooted by President Mahama who as Vice President bemoaned the non-existence of a comprehensive national youth awards to recognize the contribution.
It was organized by Charterhouse and sponsored by Rlg Communications.