Africa can make it without handouts: Ghana's President Dramani

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John Dramani

Six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world are on the African continent.

However, this growth has not yet translated into sustainable employment opportunities, the President John Dramani of Ghana told the 68th session of the UN General Assembly on Thursday.

He said while, African economies created over 37 million wage-paying jobs over the past decade, 63 percent of workers remain trapped in low paying subsistence or self-employment endeavours.

At the same time, President Dramani noted that with Africa's fast growing population of which more than 50 percent is below the age of 35, the continent must create jobs.

“We cannot do this unless we transform the economies of Africa. It all comes down to value. We must value our resources, including our human resource. We must value our people. We cannot continue to be exporters of raw material and primary produce. We need to add value to our exports. We cannot continue to export raw cocoa beans in Ghana. What we need to do instead is process more of those beans into value-added products. We cannot continue to export unrefined gold. We need to add value to our gold exports. We cannot continue to export oil and gas. We need to integrate that industry into our economy. We need to process petroleum products and produce power with the gas.”

President Dramani explained that in this way, by keeping the concept of value at the forefront of their economies, African countries can create new jobs for their young people with local and foreign investors who share the continent's vision. He said "It’s not sympathy we want; it’s partnership, the ability to stand on our own feet. It’s not handouts we’re in search of; it’s opportunities. We have already shown that with time and the right opportunity, Africa can make it."

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’45″

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