Praying to exchange one country’s president for another is one supplication that may never see the light of day. As sidesplitting as that may be, that is what a Ugandan youth seems to be doing by making an appeal to Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo to swap places with long-serving Ugandan president.
The Ugandan global youth ambassador and student of Harvard, Seguya Hillary Innocent Taylor, during a Q&A session after President Akufo-Addo’s address at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, told Ghana’s President directly in the face that citizens of Uganda were tired of their dictatorial leader, President Yoweri Museveni.
“I wish we could exchange you for our Ugandan president,” he said adding that Ugandans had had enough of their president, Yoweri Museveni.
Though the room erupted with cheers and applauds for the unflinching confidence of Taylor, the statement got the Ghanaian leader a bit unsettled― his face sparked with bewilderment.
Many may wonder what had accounted for the Ugandan student wanting Nana Akufo-Addo as president; it however was obvious that the Ghana’s president had been the first to leave Taylor wowed by a succinct speech.
In his speech, Ghana’s president had urged African leaders to use the enormous wealth the continent is endowed with, to develop and empower their respective youth populations.
With Africa possessing the largest generation of young people in history, President Akufo-Addo indicated that: “I place great hope in their capacity to shape the future of Africa and make Africa the lion that it was meant to be.”
He employed African leaders to develop strategies that would reap the demographic dividend that a youthful population offers, adding that “the population opportunity will not automatically guarantee us a future of growth and prosperity. Demographic dividends do not come automatically. They have to be earned.”
He continued: “No one needs to tell us that mass unemployment in Africa, especially among her youth, is a ticking time bomb. The so-called Arab Spring showed clearly that the lack of employment opportunities can undermine social cohesion and political stability. With between 10 and 12 million youths joining the labour market every year, Africa has to pay maximum attention to job creation.”
Touching on the need to promote quality education that prepares young people for a future of opportunities, Akufo-Addo said, “That is why the Free Senior High School policy, instituted by my government two years ago, which is expanding dramatically, access to secondary school education for all of Ghana’s young people, is opening up greater and greater vistas of opportunities for Ghana’s young female population.
“Legislation is on its way to redefine basic education to encompass kindergarten up to the end of senior high school, and make it compulsory for all of Ghana’s children,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo also advocated the involvement of young people in decisions that affect them, explaining that Africa cannot talk about shaping the future without talking about the welfare and wellbeing of young people.
“It is important that Africa takes these ideas forward to harness the value of a youthful population, holding human rights, gender equality, development of human capital, and dignity at the centre of all our investments. Only by providing opportunities that open the future to all young people do we create a brighter future,” the President added.