Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has challenged the youth to aspire to be transformational leaders to change the circumstance of Ghana and Africa for the better. “The future of our people lies in your hands, and you must prepare yourselves adequately for the challenge,” he said.
The former president said this when the 2017 Class of Kufuor Scholars paid a courtesy call on him at his residence on 3 June. The 20 students who are drawn from seven different universities were inducted earlier this year into the prestigious scholarship program of the John A. Kufuor Foundation.
President Kufuor reiterated that Africa is endowed with abundant natural wealth; yet development has been elusive. According to him a greater part of the problem is bad leadership leading to the mismanagement of these resources. Noting that “we cannot leave our economy at the mercy of the Western countries,” he stressed the need for Africans to take charge of their own future. “That is why it is so important to have a new crop of leaders who understands the African predicament and knows how to engage the world to our advantage,” he said.
Recommending the way forward, President Kufuor said the youth must begi n to re-think the misconception that leadership and wealth is found only at the corridors of political power or in white collar jobs.
According to the former president, transformational leadership is one that adopts new and innovative approaches to addressing the many perennial challenges facing this nation and the continent at large. And this, according to him, constitutes the core objective of the Kufuor Scholars Program. “This is why the Foundation is there to mentor you to be more conscious of the responsibility to change the society,” he stated.
With the unemployment statistics galloping across Ghana and on the continent, the former president urged the youth to focus on creating jobs for themselves especially by venturing into farming which contributes over 20 per cent of Ghana’s GDP.. “You can be a president on the farm; you can be a president in Environmental Studies; you can be a president in the medical field,” he stressed.
Among other things, the students were encouraged to cultivate the habit of nationalism and sacrifice to improve the livelihood of fellow citizens. Furthermore, the former president admonished the youth not to betray the country and continent by resorting to migration which depletes the continent of human resources. “We are Africans and should be proud of it. Stay over and work for the nation’s progress,” he encouraged
Following President Kufuor’s remarks, the Scholars took turns to ask questions on governance and accountability, leadership, corruption and economic empowerment before the two-hour session ended.
The scholars were presented to President Kufuor by Prof Baffour Agyeman-Duah, CEO of the John A. Kufuor Foundation. Also present was Dr Pascal Brenyah, Coordinator of the Kufuor Scholars Program.