By Benson Afful
In barely a fortnight the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) will conduct its crucial presidential primaries to elect who will bear its flag in the 2024 general election.
The ruling party says it is poised to continue its 8-year reign for another four-year term in what it describes as ‘breaking the 8’, a record-breaking feat that will go into history as the only political party to govern beyond 8 years since the inception of the fourth republic.
The November 4th presidential primary which is arguably a two-way horse race between the incumbent vice president, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and businessman, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong is very crucial for the NPP as it seeks it achieve this record-breaking in Ghana’s political history.
While the vice president is perceived by political watchers to be enjoying the incumbency power by having majority of government officials throwing their support for his bid, the Assin Central Member of Parliament, Mr. Agyapong is rigorously reaching out to the over 200,000 delegates with a job-creation mantra citing his establishment of numerous businesses across the country as evidence to deliver on his promises if he is elected as a flagbearer and subsequently as the next president of the republic.
Ken, a successful entrepreneur, owns several businesses in diverse sectors of the economy, and he is quoted as saying he employs close to 9,000 Ghanaians and intends to replicate same vision as a president of the country.
Ghanaian graduates face difficult employment odds when they leave school, as there are few new places to be filled in the formal sector each year compared to the over 100,000 graduates being churned out annually.
This shortage of jobs is due to various reasons including the lack of diversification in the economy — but also the structural mismatch between skills most graduates possess and the requirements of employers.
In recent times, the youth of the country have embarked on several protests, calling on President Akufo-Addo to address the current hardship in the country.
Ghana, one of the world’s biggest producers of both gold and cocoa, suffered its worst economic crisis in a generation in the early part of the year, with the price of goods rising at an average of 41% over the past year.
This forced the country to enter a new bailout programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) worth $3bn (£2.4bn) over three years to help ease the problems. But will that make a difference?
However, the youth of the country have been calling on the government to create jobs and the enabling environment for them to operate as many of these youth have found solace in looking for greener pastures abroad.
The clarion call by the youth is therefore in sync with Mr. Agyapong’s mantra of ensuring that he creates massive jobs for the youth across the country, and this he said will be achieved through the utilization of the country’s arable lands and natural resources as well as leveraging on tourism to bring economic freedom to youth hence reducing unemployment among them.
He had told delegates across the country in his bid to lead the party that he will focus on a massive industrialization drive and tourism, adding that he plans to create globally competitive industries, paying attention to commercial farming.
“With my experience as a businessman, I will create jobs for the youth. I’ll run Ghana like a business until an unprecedented transformation is achieved to benefit every citizen,” he said this in an earlier interview.
Ken said he intends to achieve this by making Ghana a business destination for many global investors under his leadership.
The elected flagbearer of the NPP after the 4th November primaries will face a stiff competition from National Democratic Congress flagbearer John Dramani Mahama.
This will be the second time the former president will be contesting the presidential elections since losing the seat to President Akufo-Addo in the 2016 elections.