‘Young people should be at the forefront of global change and innovation.’ – Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General
Two years ago, while sat in his church, Me Firi Ghana founder Arnold Sarfo-Katanka received a vision. A project to celebrate the finest Ghanaian youths worldwide. The formation of an innovative annual project which looked to encourage greater youth participation with the development of Ghana while also acting as a visual source of inspiration for the emerging generation and a talent resource for investors and organisations. Overcoming many trials and tribulations along the way, on Friday 27th March 2015, that vision became reality.
For that evening saw the launch of the inaugural Future of Ghana publication. The Future of Ghana is an annual project which is dedicated to showcasing and nurturing Ghana’s pioneering young talent for the development of Ghana. At the Ghana High Commission in Highgate, North London, an eclectic crowd congregated to celebrate 30 of the brightest young Ghanaian professionals who are making an impact in Ghana & the diaspora, as well as celebrate the release of a truly ground-breaking publication.
Following the announcement of the Future 30 a couple of weeks prior, the Special Edition opus finally launched in its complete form at the Ghana High Commission Headquarters in Highgate, London. Showcasing the Top 30 young Ghanaians from around the world, the Future of Ghana includes forward-thinking articles, features and interviews highlighting key industries, innovators and organizations vision for Ghana and Africa – a vibrant medley of thoughts from the brightest of young Ghanaian minds.
The sublime Claire Clottey was the perfect host for the occasion, keeping the purpose of the event at the forefront of everyone’s minds while successfully balancing humour with poise and clarity. Claire formed the foundation which held the different aspects of the evening together. Members of the Future of Ghana team were introduced, including the precociously tenacious Andrea Amaning-Okyere, administration assistant/intern who in her own way embodies the Future movement, and who further encapsulated this with an impassioned mini-speech. Sandra Osei-Asare (Project Manager) & editor of the publication Ben Anim-Antwi, took to the platform together to brilliantly explain the purpose of Future of Ghana, the painful judging process and what the Future of Ghana project stands to achieve year-on-year – while acknowledging that ‘the Future of Ghana is the responsibility of all of us’.
One of the undoubted highlights of the event was the presentation by Mr. James Barnor, Ghana’s first ever photojournalist and the patron of Future of Ghana. With humble visionary Future of Ghana founder Arnold Sarfo-Katanka at his side, Mr. Barnor captivated everyone in attendance as his recounting of his historic career empowered & inspired in equal amount, showing how young people can making something great if they decide to take the first step.
Members of the Future 30 who were in attendance were introduced onto the stage and given an opportunity to introduce themselves and speak about the impact they have made on the community at large. It was unspeakably inspiring to hear from people who are so young, yet have already achieved so much and will undoubtedly go on to achieve even more in their bright futures! Seeing members of the Future 30 in the flesh further reinforced how special this project is.
Hearing from founder Arnold Sarfo-Kantanka himself was another highlight, as at various points of the evening he explained the vision behind the publication, and the machine which has helped bring it to reality. Arnold sought to mobilise today’s young Ghanaians by acknowledging the critical point at which Ghana’s development stands today and the responsibility this generation has to realise the huge potential of Ghana, emphasising that ‘there’s a generation upon whose shoulders we are standing. Now we have the responsibility to do our part…Faith without works is dead – its time to move! Our time is now!’
One of the main purposes of the Future of Ghana launch event was to serve as a networking forum. Against an electric backdrop of future-centric conversation, and with sumptuous catering provided by 805 Restaurants, there were accomplished individuals everywhere you turned, with this event served to create more links within the Ghanaian community. MC Claire and FoG founder Arnold kept reiterating the point that it would be a waste of an opportunity to not make links with those in attendance.
A common thread ran throughout the night. As attendees left the High Commission energised and inspired, a new adage was clear in all our minds; one which will fuel our pursuits going forward and will serve to empower the next generation of young Ghanaians as we aim to create an exceptional future for Ghana – the time for rote mediocrity has ended. Now, when it comes to pursuing a better Future of Ghana, excellence must be our average.
Jermaine Bamfo (Dr_Jabz27)