The National Youth Authority (NYA) Thursday launched a stupendous project aimed at equipping over 3000 unemployed youth with Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship skills.

The beneficiaries are young men and women from both urban and rural areas as well as those living with disability.

The training programme is in partnership with the Accra Digital Centre, the Ghana-Indian Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT and Ecobank – the Pan-African bank.

Speaking at the launch of the training programme, President Akufo-Addo said in a speech delivered on his behalf by the Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Marfo that, “Indeed this programme is an inclusive initiative. The National Youth Authority, the Accra Digital Centre and the Ghana-Indian Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT deserve commendation for this welcoming collaboration.”

He said as government works to create the ideal economic environment for corporate entities to thrive, “we expect reciprocal gesture from all businesses to help us tackle our development challenges so that there will be win-win situation for all parties. This commitment by Ecobank to create jobs is worthy of emulation and government is throwing a huge challenge to different categories of businesses to emulate this gesture by Ecobank. Ecobank, you are indeed the Pan-African bank.”

The Senior Minister further indicated that with the skills beneficiaries will receive over the next three months, the growing access to internet by people and the increasing demand for infusion of technology across the entire value chain of business, there is the opportunity for growth and more jobs in the sector.

“Youth should become ICT professionals whose impact will transcend national boundaries to global scale. Government has an integrated plan and programme to make this happen and the youth should look forward to many of such initiatives,” he admonished.

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NYA, Emmanuel Asigri said Ghana has never seen a period where majority of her population fall within the youthful bracket.

“I stressed on this demographic because it has serious and severe implication on where government places focus on what development questions must be asked,” he said.

He continued that as the agency mandated to manage the creative energies of young people “we have this challenge before us” and “we have identified one thing to deal with this challenge which is technology and I am happy that we have this programme launched today [Thursday, February 8, 2018] that will bring opportunities to the young people of this country.”

He said: “There is a saying that there is no short cut to life. But technology has a way of shortening this proverb which has lived with us for decades. It cuts distance into seconds. It finishes tedious work in timely fashion. It cramps books into your pocket. It brings skills from Sussex from the United States not from the plane to Ghana but through internet cable into our homes.”

Urging the participants not to disappoint the government, by making good use of the opportunities presented them by the training programme, he declared that Ecobank – the Pan African bank – has pledged to give the trainees employment after going through the 12 weeks of training.

“This is the only short cut young people have been blessed to take advantage of. So take this short cut, use technology, use it responsibly, explore the opportunities and maximize your potential,” he stated.

The Communication Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful in her short remark stated that “we have all the building blocks that we need to create the digital pioneers of our age and I am delighted that you are among the first crop of those who are taking advantage of the training programme to equip you with employable skills.”

She expressed hope that the initiative will “just be the beginning” and other corporate organisations will also take advantage of the talents to be churned out to scale up the “digitalisation of our country and move us into the digital age.”

The government, she said, has resolved making Ghana a beacon of the West African sub-region in the digital age as it plans to set up more IT hubs across the country.