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Ghana News

Ghana’s Youth Unemployment Crisis: A Call for Sustainable Solutions

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The recently released Labour Statistics Report by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has revealed the alarming rate of youth unemployment in Ghana. According to the report, 25% of young people aged 15-35 are not in employment, education, or training (NEET), which amounts to 2.5 million people or 1 out of every 4 young people. This is a significant increase from the fluctuating data on Ghana’s youth unemployment rates between 2016 and 2021.

The report also shows that about 1.76 million people were unemployed in the third quarter of 2022, with two out of every three unemployed people being female. This is a worrying trend considering the demographic dividends that Ghana could benefit from the youthful nature of its population.

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The government has implemented several youth employment interventions and initiatives such as NABCO, YouStart, and YEA, among many others. However, the report highlights that these initiatives have failed to sustainably address the youth unemployment situation in the country, despite the government’s considerable expenditure on them. For instance, by July 2022, the government of Ghana’s expenditure on NABCO was GH2.2 billion, and the expenditure on YouStart during the pilot phase was GH 1.98 million out of the planned GH 10 billion.

The high rate of NEET among Ghanaian youth is a significant security concern. Recent research by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) identifies youth unemployment as a key driver of extremism and terrorism. Therefore, there is a need to adopt alternative and sustainable approaches to addressing the problem of youth unemployment in Ghana.

For the most part, FOSDA, a leading development organization in Africa, is calling on the National Youth Employment Strategy to address the menace of youth unemployment comprehensively and on a long-term basis. FOSDA suggests that the government should scale up reforms in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to focus on transitioning from school to job approaches as both short- and long-term measures to tackle youth employment.

Furthermore, FOSDA is urging the government to invest more in agribusiness, entrepreneurship, apprenticeship, construction, tourism, and sports as key sectors that can offer increased employment opportunities for Ghanaian youth in the short and long term. The organization also calls for more investments in career guidance and counseling, work-based learning, coaching, and mentoring to equip young people with the skills needed for work.

In conclusion, addressing youth unemployment in Ghana requires a long-term, comprehensive, and sustainable approach. Ghana’s demographic dividend from its youthful population can only be realized if the government implements effective youth employment interventions that provide viable and sustainable solutions for the country’s unemployed youth.

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