The Minister for Inner-Cities and Zongo Development says the goal of the New Patriotic Party [NPP] government is to grow the economy through production and creation of jobs, particularly in the underprivileged areas of the country.
The Minister, Hon. Alhaji Abubakari Saddique Boniface made the observation during the occasion of the official launching of the Young Zongo Entrepreneur Project in Accra and added that his Ministry was created to provide urgent and effective attention to the dire living conditions of the Zongo communities.
The Young Zongo Entrepreneur ‘’ is the brain child of the Initiative for Youth Development [IYD] and the Zongo Business Incubator, both non-for-profit organizations’ championing the causes of the Zongo people.
He commended the initiators of the project and expressed his Ministry’s preparedness to embrace the project to help enhance the living conditions of Zongo youth and indigenes respectively.
He pointed out that his Ministry is expected to complete work on its Medium Term Plan spanning 2018-2012 by February this year and that they expect the IYD to be part of the process which will seek to harmonize efforts of all stakeholders in the Zongo Prosperity Project.
The Zongo Prosperity Project according to hon. Boniface who doubles as the Member of Parliament for the Madina Constituency, will ensure that the living conditions of the Zongo people are enhanced through increased literacy, sustainable living environments and decent earning jobs.
To that end, the Minister urged the management of the IYD to convert all its 2018 initiatives into an action plan to ensure the IYD’s activities are well integrated into the Ministry’s Medium Term Plan
‘’The action plan must also spelt out clear roles for partners with expected outputs and outcomes, through which we shall be able to build a solid partnership that delivers value and prosperity for the people of the Zongo’’.
He disclosed that the Ministry since its inception in 2017 has chalked some indelible successes which include the passage of the Zongo Development Fund Law, recruitment of 3000 Arabic instructors in collaboration with the Youth Entrepreneurship Agency [YEA] as well as the commencement of about sixty projects in 41 Zongo communities nationwide.
‘’ These projects comprised of entrepreneurial skills training for Zongo youth of Accra,Kumasi, Takoradi, and Tamale, construction of water and sanitation, health , education, transport and recreational infrastructures’’ Hon. Boniface explained.
He mentioned that the Ministry been cognizant of the enormity of tasks ahead in dealing with the situation has therefore as part of its strategy, developed a network of partners to assist in the delivery of its mandate of formulating and overseeing of its policies, programs and projects to alleviate poverty to ensure the Inner -City and Zongo communities become inclusively developed and prosperous.
We are already collaborating closely with over 15 Ministries, Departments and Agencies [MDA’s] of government and have also begun singing of Memoranda of Understandings [MOUs] with some Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organizations’ to ensure the Zongo Prosperity Project is delivered effectively.
‘’ I therefore take this opportunity to accept IYD’s gesture of partnership so together we can improve living conditions of the Zongo through decent jobs and earnings based on highly competitive entrepreneurial skills’’ he said.
On his part , Mr. Mahmud Jajah, the IYD’s Executive Director, believes the Zongo youth is talented but lacks the needed support and courage to realize their potentials and that the aim of the Project is to identify and develop young technology experts, create massive awareness on the importance and significance of entrepreneurship and job creation among the youth .
‘’ I therefore believe that we can through this Project empower , transform and create jobs for the Zongo youth as well as enhanced their living conditions which is currently in dire situation and requires urgent attention’’.
The IYD Boss among other things mentioned that his outfit which is anchored on the three pillars of empowerment, corporate policy , hopes that by the end of the year-long campaign they would have inspired and encouraged a lot of young people from the Zongo communities nationwide to start their own businesses and to see great potentials in entrepreneurship.
Mr. Mahmud Jajah, was also of the firm conviction that alternative livelihood projects such as youth entrepreneurship will help young people who otherwise would have travelled for non-existing greener pastures, to remain and work in Ghana.
The Founder of the IYD outlined some of the activities and events planned for 2018 which includes, the Zongo Coders Challenge, an annual competition to select some of the best technology startups from the Zongo communities for incubation and acceleration.
The Zongo Youth Economic Forum in March 2018, to discuss economic opportunities available for the youth, the Zongo Startup Exhibition, publication of the Zongo Economic Opportunities Report as well as entrepreneurship training workshops for young entrepreneurs across the country .
The launching which was held under the auspices of the office of the Sarkin Samari Alhaji Salisu Maude brought together politicians, security experts, entrepreneurs, students and the media.
Several speakers including parliamentarians took turns to advise and encourage the youth especially, to embrace and make good use of the opportunities and platform created by the IYD and the Zongo Business Incubator.
By Mohammed Saani Ibrahim