The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku Mantey, has said Africa’s youthful population is an important resource that must be harvested to propel national and continental development.

He said the importance of the youth in the continent’s development could not be underestimated, with almost 60 per cent of Africa’s population being under the age of 25, making it the world’s youngest continent.

Speaking at the maiden Forty under 40 Africa Awards which seeks to celebrate young entrepreneurs on the continent, Mr Okraku Mante urged the youth to lead Africa’s efforts towards economic liberation.

“Africa has been affected badly by the global pandemic due to the structural nature of our economies, which is producers and exporters of raw materials with little of no value addition.

“Fortunately, we have a youthful population which is an important resource that we can harvest to propel national and continental development,” he stated.

He said that would, however, require that African government’s put in place the right policy measures to support young businesses.

Innovative business ideas 

Mr Okraku Mantey urged the award winners to use their innovative businesses to support national policies in their various countries.

“The award winners are from different countries and each of you have been selected because of your innovative business ideas.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Xodus Communications Limited, Mr Richard Abbey Jnr, in his welcome address urged the youth on the continent not give up on Africa and its vast potential.

He said the continent had untapped opportunities that the youth could take advantage of to improve lives and living conditions.

“There is still more to be done to project Africa better and I am more concerned about projecting a stronger front for Africa.

Forty under 40 Africa

The Forty under 40 Africa Awards seeks to identify, honour and celebrate a cross-section of the continent’s most influential and accomplished young business leaders under the age of 40.

It covers a wide range of industries that are committed to business growth, professional excellence and community service.

The event was organised by Xodus Communications in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Ghana, and the Ministry of Arts and Culture.

The maiden edition of the awards brought together 63 nominees from 16 African countries.

The CEO of Energyplus in Zimbabwe, Shakemore Timburwa, won the First Among Equals Award which was the ultimate award on the night.

Other winners for this year’s event were from South Africa, Niger, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Togo, Namibia, Cameron, South Sudan, Swaziland and Morocco.

In all, over 40 young entrepreneurs were awarded.

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