“It is critical that the youth do not fall prey to the temptation to use digitalization for all the wrong purposes, such as child sexual abuse and exploitation, cyber-bullying, online gaming and, worst of all, recruitment into insurgent organizations. It is the last example that continues to cause nightmares to well-meaning governments and societies” commandant of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre KAIPTC, Major General Richard Gyane has said.
He was speaking at the opening of the 15TH African Youth and Governance Convergence in Mankessim organized by the Youth Bridge Foundation in Partnership with AU ECOSSOC with technical support from KAIPTC.
The convergence brought together young people from 27 African countries and the Diaspora to deliberate on the theme “Advancing Youth Inclusive Governance, Peace and Security in Africa: the Digital Innovation Factor.”
One notable feature about the 15th edition of the convergence is that it is taking place at the same time ECOWAS Chiefs of Defense Staff are meeting in Accra to find solutions to the stalemate in the Niger Republic.
Major General Richard Gyane said while digitization provides enormous opportunities, care must be taken in order not to exploit it for the wrong reasons.
He quoted research findings that point out that one in three internet users is younger than 18 years and 71% of 15 – 24-year-olds are online.
This he said clearly marks the age bracket out as the most connected age group around the globe.
“It is in this vein that I would also like the youth to be careful to put the internet and digitalization to the best of use rather than using it to achieve devious ends. This would be inimical to the peace and security that the digitalization drive would be seeking to achieve.”
He encouraged young people to take advantage of opportunities offered to develop themselves like the AYGC to broaden their horizon and open themselves up to research and further education.
Director of Operations at the Ghana Police Service Alhaji Al-Meyao Abass Aremeyaw, said the youth who make up 60 per cent of the population should pick up the leadership mantle and eschew illegal activities.
He decried violence and hooliganism, especially in some first and second-cycle institutions, and entreated young people to find better ways of resolving disputes.
He said the destruction of property and causing harm to people when there are disagreements would rather aggravate a problem than solve it.
ACP Abass Aremeyaw also encouraged delegates attending the convergence to submit to the learnings and take the best back home.
Youth Bridge Foundation also partnered with Hydra cyber security services, Dalhousie University, the Obasanjo Presidential Library, Vesti, JSE Productions Diba Marketing Partners, CTA and Magic Hands for this year’s convergence.