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Bilateral Meeting with Minister of Planning Reinforces Outcomes of Mission Visit to Ghana

In one of her final engagements before concluding the five (5) nation visit in Africa, Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth convened a bilateral meeting with the Minister of Planning from Ghana, Professor George Gyan-Baffour. The meeting sought to revisit key highlights of the Youth Envoy’s visit to Ghana and cement areas of cooperation.

Addressing the Honourable Minister, the Youth Envoy recalled her visit to Ghana, albeit short, as having been productive and fruitful. She noted strong meetings with the Minister of Youth and Sports and encouraging engagements with young people, both with the Kayayei Girls and the TownHall Meeting with young people in Accra, Ghana. Noting the discussions with young people on engaging in the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Youth Envoy emphasised the importance of young people being part of the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the goals, insisting that young people have the energy to make sound and sustainable contributions in delivering on the 2030 agenda in Ghana and across the world.

Responding to the Envoy, Professor George Gyan-Baffour underscored how important young people are to the development equation in Ghana, noting that His Excellency the President of Ghana believes and has great confidence in young people. A particular example is the appointment of a young Minister of Youth and Sports. He further noted that the country recognises the critical role young people can plan in transforming the country and hence the country’s efforts to invest in delivering on the demographic dividend. This is being done with key investments in education under the recent announcement to provide free senior high school education for all, and in providing employment through the national service corps programme, where more than 100,000 will be created.In her follow-up remarks, the Youth Envoy offered a hand of partnership, offering technical support where appropriate through the Office of the Youth Envoy’s capacity on youth policies, with key lessons from the 1st Youth Policy Forum. She noted that the Office of the Envoy has a lot of knowledge and information to share, particularly on building linkages between line Ministries on the issue of Youth Development. She further called for considerations in budgeting for Youth Development, calling for greater coordination and alignment in allocating for young people in national budgets.

On his part, the Minister of Planning noted that Ghana has an Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Sustainable Development Goals implementation, and saw opportunity for committees in all of the ministries having a special focus on youth development issues within their mandates. He further offered the prospect of working with the Vice President’s Office, who has been a champion on data-driven policies, especially as it concerns youth empowerment.

Concluding the meeting, the Envoy through her advisor pointed to an opportunity to work together with Ghana in the sustainable development goals indicator framework. With 230 indicators, the Office of the Youth Envoy has seen the need to create a matrix of indicators with a leaning on youth development. The process is ongoing and partnership on this is welcome.

South Africa concluded for the Youth Envoy a mission in Africa that has seen her visit Senegal, The Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria earlier.