That, he said, would encourage the youth to take up leadership roles when the current crop of politicians had retired from active politics.
He indicated that Ghana had a young age structure with about 57 per cent of the population below the age of 25.
Mr Osei-Owusu made the observation at a two-day maiden conference of the National Youth Parliament held at the Eastern regional capital, Koforidua.
The conference was organised by the National Youth Authority (NYA) with technical support from the Parliament of Ghana while STAR Ghana and the Westminster Foundation provided financial support.
Guide the youth
The first deputy speaker stated that it was, therefore, imperative to guide the youth, who are regarded as the working force and the future of the country, to develop or show keen interest in governance issues.
“It is against this background that I find the effort to strengthen the foundations of our democracy through engagement with the youth in the context of youth empowerment in the governance process most appropriate.“The Speaker, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye is committed to this undertaken and has requested me as the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament to lead the process to its logical conclusion,” Mr Osei Owusu said.
Parliament over the years, he explained, had facilitated the establishment of youth parliaments in various tertiary institutions.
He stated that the NYA had the objective of ensuring the effective participation of the youth in the development of the country and supported youth groups at various levels, while STAR Ghana and other development partners also provided some support to the youth who had constituted themselves into various bodies.
Bring the youth together
Mr Osei-Owusu, however emphasised that there was the need to support all those groups to be well-organised and bring them under a common umbrella with common objectives and guidelines to streamline their activities.
According to him, it was very critical that there was consensus-building among the various youth representatives and all key stakeholders in order to agree on workable rules of engagement and come out with an implementation working document that would guide the way forward in empowering the youth for future leadership in the nation’s political dispensation.
“When we all work hard to bring into fruition our key objective of harmonising the activities of several youth groups, we will be able to better develop the creative potential of the youth and also develop a dynamic and disciplined youth that are imbued with the spirit of nationalism, patriotism and a sense of civil and social responsibility,” Mr Osei-Owusu stated.
Regional Minister speaks
For his part, the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Eric Kwakye Darfour, said the youth of today were faced with myriad of challenges such as poor parenting, substance abuse, inadequate employment opportunities and lack of self-esteem among others.
He stressed that for those challenges to be addressed, there was the need to maximise the knowledge, experiences and expertise of young people in the design, implementation and evaluation of youth policies and mainstream those policies across all the sectors.
“Many of our young ones cannot be actively engaged in decision-making process to articulate, respond, discuss and debate on these issues due to lack of capacity, opportunity to develop and also position themselves for these purposes,” Mr Darfour added.
The National Youth Parliament, he stated, would create a healthy, conducive environment and a platform where youngsters would discuss social and economic policies and also be accustomed to the rules and regulations of the legislature and parliamentary procedures and processes.