The West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP) says the security threat associated with youth unemployment in West Africa can be curbed if governments invest in youth development.
The network believes immediate steps must be taken to address the situation.
This comes on the back of an announcement by the National Security Minister, Kan Dapaah that there are ongoing deliberations with other ministries to tackle youth unemployment which poses security threat to the nation.
Speaking to the media after the launch of WANEP’s Youth Transformation Empowerment and Mentorship Programme, Youth, Peace and Security Programme Officer at WANEP, Josiane Sombo said youth development must be encouraged because 60 percent of the sub-region’s population is under the age of 24.
“West Africa’s youthful population presents both an opportunity and a challenge to the region – an opportunity if we are able to invest in our youth with the skills to support regional stability and development, but a challenge if the state fails to invest in their youth. So at WANEP, we believe that one of the measures to address this challenge is through youth empowerment.”
Mr. Kan Dapaah, has warned that terrorists may take advantage of the illegal small-scale mining activities, otherwise known as galamsey in the country.
The Minister explained that the terrorists will capitalize on the revenue generated from galamsey to fund their criminal activities.
He cited Burkina Faso and Mali as countries where terrorists have been attracted to gold mining areas but assured that the Ministry has taken cognizance of the development and working hard to avert the consequences.
He was giving an update on the Accra Initiative, which aims to prevent the spillover of terrorism from the Sahel and to address transnational organized crime and violent extremism in ECOWAS member countries’ border areas.
The West African sub-region has been confronted with terrorist threats, as Ghana’s neighbours Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso have suffered attacks from terror groups in recent times.
This development has compelled the government to launch the “See Something, Say Something” campaign, which is aimed at encouraging citizens to report any suspicious activity.