Former President John Dramani Mahama has identified Africa’s unique problem that he says if managed well can be an asset at the same time.
He says Africa has the youngest and largest population of young people.
In his keynote address at the Korea-Africa Business Summit 2023, Mr Mahama stated that “In Africa, we have a unique problem, which is an asset at the same time, if we manage it well— Africa is the youngest continent and has the largest population of young people. Africa’s youthful population is educated and eager to acquire new skills to enter the world of work.
“Twelve (12) million young Africans enter the labour market every year. Unfortunately, only
three (3) and four (4) million jobs are created annually in Africa. Africa needs to double its job creation capacity to keep up with the growing youth bulge, or it will turn into a ticking time bomb.”
To do this, he added “we must accelerate the growth of African economies. We must diversify our economies from just the export of primary products. We must strive for value addition for our exports. We must promote African entrepreneurship and enterprise, but above all, we expand trade among ourselves.”
How can we forge a partnership with Korea that allows our young people to benefit from a
transfer of knowledge and technology that harnesses their vast talents and creativity for
growth? I would like to have this summit consider the above when submitting a report on the outcomes of our deliberations.
Mr Maham further stated that Ghana has had a history of Korean investments in Ghana.
Early investors like the well-known Bok Nam-Kim made significant investments in fisheries and agribusiness, he said.
He added other investors who have come in have concentrated on the import of used autos and auto spare parts.
“With the recent opening of a KIA vehicle assembly plant, I can see new beginnings. Younger Koreans like my friend Kojo Choi have invested in the Fintech space. His PaySwitch payment and settlements platform is bringing in some of the latest Korean fintech experience, providing banking and credit solutions for Ghana.
“Digital finance and services (and App development) are other areas young Ghanaian fintech and technology talents will benefit significantly from in partnership with Korea. There is a huge demand for services in this area.”
Food production and Agri-business are other areas in which Africa has a comparative
advantage,he further stated.
“There is a demand for technology solutions in Ghana’s agriculture value chain and agri-business. A viable partnership can be developed to provide digital solutions for producing animals and crops.
“Ghana has a significant endowment in natural resources. Ghana is blessed with gold, bauxite, manganese, oil, and, lately, lithium. A collaboration between Ghana and Korea to use Ghanaian lithium to build batteries for the EV revolution in the world would be a mutually beneficial venture.”