Young People Are Leading the Way to Achieving the Global Goals

An interview with +SocialGood Connector Emmanuel Nyame

By Annie Rosenthal, +SocialGood Community Manager

Did you know that almost half of the world’s population is under 30 years old? At 1.8 billion, our world’s young population is the largest and most connected ever. Today’s young people are using their resources to stand up and protect our planet — in fact, 89% of youth respondents say young people can make a difference on climate change.

In order to explore how young people are leading the way today for a better tomorrow, we sat down to talk with +SocialGood Connector Emmanuel Nyame, who recently was honored by the Pan African Network for being a Youth of Excellence. ​Emmanuel has implemented several initiatives to boost the growth of African entrepreneurship. He helped to establish Social Good Ghana to give direction on innovation and new media and has empowered young people in Ghana and around the world to create progress on the Global Goals.

Note: Interview conducted via email and edited lightly for clarity

1. You were recently honored by the Pan African Network for being an impactful youth leader. Why is youth leadership important?

​The PANAFEST Foundation, like other youth focused organizations, has realized the need to support youth in all areas of development. Young people represent the core essence of economic development. When you a support a youth to develop emotionally, psychologically, and through career support, you are not only growing and nurturing a young talent, but you are also preparing the future one step at a time. Youth leadership is important in many ways, including the empowerment of young people to address pressing issues in society, helping them curb corruption at the youthful stages of their careers, and building a generation young people with the experience, the skill sets, and the audacity to cause tremendous and significant changes in their immediate environment, as well as in building the nation.

​2. How are young people supporting the Global Goals?

​Young people are the most creative people in every nation.​ ​Many young people have been able to start and implement innovative projects. One such group is the WEF Global Shapers Community, which is very vibrant in Ghana. The group is embarking on several projects that tackle specific Global Goals. There are other support groups and NGOs been run by young people that are doing quite well at progressing the Global Goals. Recently, social media campaigns and Twitter chats have also encouraged more youth to consider working on Global Goal specific projects​.

3. How is innovation and new technology supporting youth empowerment?

​Innovation and new technology have increasingly led to the creation of interesting online campaigns and organized promotional content, as well as providing a platform where young people can learn and improve upon their skill sets. You would agree with me that in the absence of the internet and social media platforms, people usually had to resort to the libraries to access information which can improve upon their thought processes. But now​, access to information is way more cheaper and this makes it easier for the youth to interact and makes empowerment more readily available.

4. What are some of the exciting developments you have seen in Ghana?

​In addition to mentioning the continued efforts of the Global Shapers community in Ghana, there are ​other developments such as the mPedigree innovation, which is helping improve healthcare by verifying genuine drugs/medicine from the fake ones. Women in Tech Africa is doing a great job of mobilizing young African women and supporting them with the education they need to become successful business owners.

​These and many others have been championed by young Ghanaians who are continuously inspired to make a difference in society.

​5. How can global organizations work to support young people around the world?

​In as much as there are passionate young people ​​ready to work and make an impact, it is essential for global organisations to make the right contacts and right investments to guarantee significant results.​

6. What are we failing to do to support young leaders?

​We are failing to recognize the young people who are doing great stuff. It’s very appalling when we equate young people with incompetence. This thought affects what we do and our policies. ​

​When you support a young person, you are building something that the whole world can benefit from. Young people are full of passion to make a difference. They might not have a family to take care of or other huge responsibilities, but their passion alone can ensure full execution of projects and lasting impacts. Some young people are equally or more competent than older folk at project development, but we usually turn them down because they are young. It’s time to rally for more support for the younger folks.

7. What do you see as the priorities for local and global action in the next 13 years?

​Education. Knowledge is key in helping people understand a whole lot of things. Without education it would be difficult to decipher the importance of our actions towards a great and sound world​.

8. If you could share one message with the world, what would it be?

​My message to the world is: Let us all come together to give a helping hand to young people. In our endeavors to achieve the Global Goals, the youth must be the center of all actions​. The future belongs to us and we can make a great difference.

Want more facts about the youth population? Check out the UN Youth Envoy Office’s #YouthStats.