Action Aid Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation, has organized a national forum to engage stakeholders, mostly young persons, on youth-related policies and viable economic opportunities beneficial to them.
The national forum, which was preceded by a series of regional forums at various implementing regions, allowed the youth to engage duty bearers and leaders on policies and particularly government interventions.
ActionAid Ghana, with funding from Medicor Foundation, a charitable foundation based in Liechtenstein, is implementing a project on the theme: “Providing Employment Opportunities for Young People in Ghana.”
It seeks to equip young people in four districts, Asutifi North, Ahafo Region, Mion, Sagnarigu in the Northern Region and Talensi Upper East Region.
The project is targeted at 531 young people, consisting of 362 females and 169 males, selected with the support of key stakeholder institutions such as the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) and National Vocational and Technical Institutes.
Mr John Nkaw, Head of Programmes, Campaigns and Innovation, ActionAid Ghana, speaking at the National Youth Forum in Accra on the theme: “Acceleration of Youth Entrepreneurship in the Era of COVID-19,” said the pandemic had severely affected labour markets around the world, hurting young people more than other age groups.
He said according to the International Labour Organization, global youth employment fell by 8.7 per cent in 2020 compared with 3.7 per cent for adults, contributing towards employment losses among young people and translated mostly into an increase in the inactivity of the youth.
Citing a report titled: “Youth Employment Programmes in Ghana: Options for Effective Policy Making and Implementation” released by the World Bank in September 2020, he said, “Ghana is faced with 12 per cent youth unemployment and more than 50 per cent underemployment, both higher than overall unemployment rates in Sub-Saharan African countries, which hover around 7 per cent.
“Again in 2016, the World Bank projected that, given Ghana’s growing youth population, 300,000 new jobs would be needed each year to absorb the increasing numbers of unemployed young people.”
The report, he said, further identified entrepreneurship, apprenticeship, construction, tourism and sports as key sectors that could offer increased employment opportunities for Ghanaian youth.
Mr Nkaw called for more investments in career guidance and counselling, work-based learning, coaching and mentoring to equip young people with the skills needed for work.
According to him, despite the looming security threat youth unemployment posed to the country, the employment structure of the Ghanaian economy had not changed much for several decades.
He, therefore, said ActionAid was working with young people to contribute to change stories, by empowering them with relevant skills and knowledge in livelihood activities and encouraging their participation in decision making that affects their lives.
Mr Nelson Owusu Ansah, Acting Chief Executive Officer, National Youth Authority, advised the youth to rediscover themselves and focus more on skills that earn them some income with a willingness to improve such skills by taking training opportunities to build their capacities and formalize their artisanal trades.
“There are no quick fixes anywhere; if you really want to make it, continue to improve on your skills with a mindset to succeed,” he added and said “my work at the NYA is to work on the mindset of young people, and to develop them to take their rightful places in the country.”