The 5th in a series of lectures held every year in commemoration of the late President of Ghana, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills has been held at GIMPA on the theme: ‘The Greening of Africa’- Developing Youth Employment and Agriculture: The Implication for Governance and Public Policy.
It was put together by GIMPA and the University of Cape Coast in collaboration with the government of Ghana.
Prof. Philip EbowBondzdi-Simpson, Rector of GIMPA said the J.E.A Mills centre was set up to provide the basis for decision making in the country adding that the centre was poised to keep that mandate.
This, he said, was possible through the identification of issues on law and governance that needed to be addressed and creating the platform to deliberate on such issues and to find possible solutions to them through lectures.
Giving the lecture, The Rt. Hon. Lord Paul Yaw Boateng, Member of Parliament in the House of Lords, United Kingdom, said Africa’s underdevelopment was as a result of failure to invest in agriculture.
He therefore urged African leaders to turn their attention to agriculture in order to curb the increasing rate of youth unemployment on the continent.
Mr. Boateng said that unless African leaders prioritise agriculture, the continent would be ‘sitting on a time bomb’, adding that $40 billion was spent annually on the importation of food, an indication that the continent has failed to utilise its agriculture sector.
‘The only way for Africa to attain its development agenda is for the continent to focus its attention on agriculture, ‘ he said, adding that unless the continent turned its attention to the sector, the future would be bleak for the generation.
Mr. Boateng bemoaned the increasing rate of unemployment in the country saying it posed a serious threat by allowing many of the youth to use unapproved means to seek greener pastures which had led to the death of thousands.
‘It is imperative for African governments to mobilise domestic resources to finance development projects,’ he stressed.
He commended the organisers of the lecture for creating a platform to discuss pertinent and developmental issues facing the country.
Mr Yaw OsafoMaafo, the Senior Minister of the Republic of Ghana, described the late President Atta Mills as a man who lived a life of servitude.
‘Not only was the late President Atta Mills a man of peace, but also a leader that exhibited true discipline. He believed in his conviction, whether right or wrong,’ he said.
The lecture was attended by state officials, representatives of political parties and civil society, including former President John DramaniMahama and former Vice President PaaKwesiAmissah Arthur.
Mr. Kofi Asante Darko, the Chairman of the GIMPA Governing Council GIMPA was also in attendance.