“I’m still optimistic about the future of Liberia, especially Africa! I come to tell young people: depict of all our past misery and current challenges as youth, I still have hope.”
Joseph M D Johnson, a sponsored DAFI Scholar, a young Liberian youth advocate and an African youth worker was privileged to attend a youth summit with fellow Ghanaian youths at the National Theatre, Accra (7th - 8th October, 2010). The 6th Amicus Youth Empowerment Summit have been organised by Amicus Onlus in partnership with Office of the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana.
The special guest of honour was H.E. John Dramani Mahama, Vice President of the Republic of Ghana and the keynote speaker was Christopher Paul Gardner of Gardner Rich LLC. . In his deliberation, H.E. John Dramani Mahama said, “I wish to add my voice for all of us in Ghana to shoulders together and use the opportunities here in Ghana.’
Looking back at his country Liberia, he was glad to declare, ‘I’m impressed about the concerns of Ghanaian leaders to prepare their youth for a bright future. It pleases posterity to confidently know that by engaging the youth into educational activities, the dark clouds of poverty, diseases and ignorance are empty illusions.’ ‘youth of Africa must make a choice for change! You are either part of the problem or the solution. Don’t remain disengaged.’ Johnson further continued, ‘The policies that are designed by governments are for us. We must monitor and engage all government activities without fear and doubt. Our governments are highly depending on our ideas and thought for development.’
The AMICUS Youth Empowerment Summit today is the foremost platform for advocacy and awareness creation on entrepreneurship and youth development in Ghana. The project has grown from an earlier participation of 362 at the premier summit in 2005 to 1,112 participants at the 5th Summit in 2009.
The 6th edition of the AMICUS Youth Empowerment Summit commences the 2nd Five Year phase of the summit structure. Following five consecutive years of awareness creation, advocacy and sensitisation on youth entrepreneurship and job creation, the needed fertile ground has now been provided to partner and support the youth to create their own job. This 2nd phase has therefore been designed to support the youth of Ghana to establish social enterprises that address peculiar challenges within their districts.
Johnson has called upon all African youth to take the development process of their nations and pursuing a positive change as a daily obligation, serious. He have remarked that, Liberia have come over 160 years saying we need a New Liberia. And with a demand, African youth must understand that the continent is currently made up only 10% of the world’s population, which is rapidly expanding. With the growth rate of 3%...we have inherited a system with more than 680,000,000 people.
Chris Gardner, popularly known for the movie that was based on his autobiography - The Pursuit of Happiness brings his vast experience, knowledge and great accomplishments in Corporate America, to the 6th summit. In his introduction, Mr Gardner said, “I think we need to talk and make this a part of our annual youth involvement.” He seeks to inspire and motivate Ghana’s young corporate executives on the theme, “Attitude: The Game Changer”.
Aside this detour, Chris Gardner was expected to engage the youth of Ghana on a one-on-one mentoring and aspirational encounter on how to win with the right attitude.
The Summit was a platform for advocacy and awareness creation on entrepreneurship and youth development. Some of the speakers that have graced this summit are: Dr. Kofi Amoah, Prof. Michael Hay (London Business School UK), Rev. Dr. Caeser Atuire (The Vatican, Italy), Hon. Akua Sena Dansua (Minister Youth and Sports), Hon. Joseph Yieleh Chireh (Min. Local Government) and Hon. Hannah Tetteh (Min. Trade & Industry).
According to the host, Akumba Ben Asamoaning remarked, “I want to engage you to create job for yourself and job for others. We see the potential in you. We believe with the right motivation we can become accomplished. This is why Chris Gardner is here, to help inspire us to achieve more.” Mr. Asamoaning added that, “To do this, we need capacity building. If you are thinking to expand in both scope and size, we cannot do it alone. This is why Prof. Michael Hay is here from London Business School, UK.”
Johnson finally mused, ‘I’m still optimistic about the future of Liberia, especially Africa! I come to tell young people: depict of all our past misery and current challenges as youth, I still have hope. With the evidence of the hard work of our forefathers, I’m still optimistic about Africa. I still don’t know if all of all have the political will or courage…but I’m certain that the future is bright!’