Ghana’s president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has reiterated his long-held conviction that the Sustainable Development Goals will continue to evolve around the youth and all young people.
According to him, the “Sustainable Development Goals are an investment for children, youth and future generations,” therefore “it remains abundantly clear that we must empower the youth to ensure success in the SGDs. “
President Akufo-Addo made this announcement on June 8, 2023 at Jubilee House in Accra while presenting prizes to the 10 winners of the Junior Graphic National Essay Competition. Together with the Sustainable Development Goals Advisory Unit, the competition was planned.
The 10 2023 awardees, who were selected from submissions made around the country, are Adjoa Nyameyie Fletcher, Amanda Osei Owusu Fosu, Wilhelmina D. Kuranchiewaa Frimpong, Awula Kai-Mansa Okantey, and Ama Obeng-Baffoe.
Rita Nana Akua Agyekum, Benedict Dei Amoani, and Vanessa Lamisi Asiedu are the surviving persons.
These young people whose essays we honor today embody the spirit of the words of the great African statesman Nelson Madiba Mandela who said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” according to President Akufo-Addo, who described it as a noteworthy initiative that must be maintained and continued.
The President emphasized that among other things, the articles submitted for this competition demonstrated the breadth of knowledge, the inventiveness of thought, and the passion that abounds among our youth. Participants have used education to voice their ideas, spark change, and open doors for a better future.
With each essay, he continued, “providing a unique perspective, a fresh voice and an opportunity to learn from the minds of our future leaders,” the competition’s winners have delved into a diverse range of topics of significant national and international interest. These topics range from eradicating poverty and hunger to guaranteeing quality education, promoting gender equality, and combating climate change.
Therefore, he continued, “I say to you, your achievements today are just the beginning. Your essays have not only captured the attention of our nation, but also have served as an inspiration for countless others. You have demonstrated the power of words and the impact they have on society. Use this stepping stone a greater height to explore new avenues and continue making a positive difference in the world.”
“To all the participants, whether or not you received an award, I want you know that your contributions are invaluable. Your essays have added to the global conversation on the Sustainable Development Goals and you played an integral role in spreading awareness and fostering understanding of these goals among your parents and beyond. You have taken the first steps towards becoming changemakers and leaders in your own right.”
President Akufo-Addo told the gathering to “remember that, education is a lifelong journey, never stop questioning and seek to understand the diverse perspectives that exists in our world. Let your essays be catalysts for change, beacons of hope and testaments to the resilience of the Ghanaian spirit.”
He emphasized government’s enduring commitment to providing quality education for all our youth, and sustained position to invest in the development of our educational system, ensuring that every child has access to the tools and resources they need to succeed.
Whilst acknowledging the efforts of their parents, teachers and mentors, who have nurtured their talents and guided them along this path, the President extended the nation’s deepest gratitude “to the educators who have instilled in our youth the love for learning, writing and reading and the importance of critical thinking.”
“We have created an environment that fosters creativity, critical thinking and innovation, empowering our youth to shape the destiny of our nation and our world. I encourage all parents and guardians to continue to assist your wards to excel in whatever they do, so they can attain great laurels in life, be worthy citizens and most importantly be our nation’s future patriotic leaders,” he indicated.