A three-day virtual technical meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member states, experts, and stakeholders to review and validate the ECOWAS Youth Strategic Action Plan has begun in Accra, Ghana.
The meeting which began on Monday, September 28, 2020, has amongst its key objectives, reviewing and updating the Youth Strategic Plan of Action and repositioning it to effectively respond to emerging trends in the youth development sector.
The expected outcome of the meeting will be a new ECOWAS Youth Strategic Plan of Action spanning between 2021-2031.
Opening the session, Mr. Sylvester Tetteh, CEO of the National Youth Authority who chaired the function, thanked the ECOWAS Commission for recognizing Ghana as the preferred destination to host the maiden virtual meeting and said Ghana is privileged to host the meeting.
He recalled the 2010 National Youth Policy of Ghana, which has recently undergone a similar exercise of review and validation, and said the reviewed document, which spans 2021 -2031 covers some critical areas which the ECOWAS Youth Strategic Plan of Action also touches on, such as Youth Education & Employment, Youth & Health, Entrepreneurship & Enterprise Development, Science and ICT, Youth & Governance amongst others.
He said emergent trends such as the COVID-19 pandemic, migration, and climate change were all critical issues affecting young persons which urgently deserved creativity and innovation to address.
Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne, Commissioner, Social Affairs and Gender at ECOWAS who opened the session mentioned xenophobia and lack of affordable housing as key challenges confronting the sub-region and called on all participants to take a critical look at that whilst identifying new ways and means to address it.
She said ECOWAS has over the years placed youth development at the center of its human development and social affairs initiatives “and these initiatives shall continually be supported and implemented to address the yearnings of this indispensable stratum of the populace” Dr. Jagne concluded