By Adu Koranteng
The Akufo Addo government has employed about twenty thousand (20,000) young men and women across the country to help manage the country’s forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss.
Speaking at the launch of the Youth in Afforestation Programme, on Monday, 13th August, 2018, at Jubilee Park, Kumasi, President Akufo-Addo stated that the launch of the programme is in line with the NPP’s 2016 manifesto commitment of reforestation, forest rehabilitation and forest protection activities.
“That is why, today, we are deploying an army of twenty thousand young men and women who are going to help restore our degraded forests. The Programme, which has an initial two-year life span, will be extended based on satisfactory results,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo was, nonetheless, confident that the initial phase of the Programme will be a success, and indicated that Government has already begun preparations for the second and subsequent phases of the programme.
With some sixty thousand applications received by the Forestry Commission for employment, and with only twenty thousand recruited, President Akufo-Addo assured that all hope is not lost for the forty thousand unsuccessful applicants.
“I am engaging with the Minister for Finance to seek additional funds to support this programme, so that these remaining applicants can be recruited. The Forestry Commission is also examining actively how it can also use some of its internally generated funds to support the programme,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo reiterated the commitment of his Government to rolling out policy initiatives which will create jobs for the teeming masses of Ghanaian youth.
He noted further that the importance of the Youth in Afforestation Programme should not be lost on anyone, as “what we make of our natural resources would be what determines our existence.”
The President reaffirmed that his Government is in full support of every action that prevents forest degradation and deforestation, and also increased the country’s forest cover, citing the fight against galamsey as a case in point.
“It is my hope that, in the next ten years, God willing, Ghana will be green again, as all trees, which are being planted today, will be nurtured to grow and increase the forest cover, and help us also to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo urged the twenty thousand young men and women employed in the Programme to be diligent in the discharge of their duties, stressing that “all the trees you are planting today will go a long way to saving our lives and the lives of generations unborn,” President Akufo-Addo added.