Special Adviser on Presidential Affairs, Alhaji Alpha Kanu, has re-affirmed that youths of Sierra Leone are the most valuable assets in the country.
He was speaking while delivery a keynote address on behalf of President Ernest Bai Koroma at the launch of the National Youth Development Week at Bank Complex, Kingtom, in Freetown, themed ‘Campaign against Violence, promoting discipline among youth for national building.’
He maintained that the government was obliged to provide support and create opportunities for youths, and build their capacities for effective contribution in nation building.
Alhaji Kanu, who until recently was Information and Communications Minister, said the Youth Development Week was important because it provides a mechanism that is dedicated to addressing issues relating to the welfare of youths.
He explained that the initiative to celebrate youth development week came from a decision taken by the African Union Commission for Members States to set aside a week in recognition of the contribution of young people to development in their respective countries.
“This is an initiative that we have embedded in the African Youth Charter, which my government has adopted and ratified,” he said.
According to him, youths give enough time every year to engage with young people themselves, youth serving organisations and other stakeholders in indentifying the recurrent and emerging challenges faced by the youth population, adding that if such challenges were not considered, the government would be neglecting more than half of the country’s population.
“We all know the challenges facing young people in developing countries today, including Sierra Leone, youthful populations are constantly on the increase and there is urgent need to develop appropriate policies and programmes to address issues of health, education, skills training and unemployment,” he stated.
The presidential adviser cautioned cliques and rival gang groups in the country to stop attacking each other in communities and colleges, allow the government to concentrate on the bigger issues of the welfare of the young people.