Ghana has the highest youth unemployment rates in the world with 30 per cent unemployed youth in its capital city, Mrs Vera Kafui Mills Odoi, Project Director, Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurial Development Initiative Employment (YIEDIE) has said
Speaking at a round table discussion on Ghana’s unemployment rate at the University of Cape Coast, she said research also indicated that 23 per cent of the youth in five major cities in Ghana were unemployed.
The forum was organised by the Global Communities Ghana and YIEDIE in collaboration with the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) of the University of Cape Coast (UCC).
It aimed at bringing stakeholders together to share ideas on how to address the unemployment situation in the country.
YIEDIE is a five-year project to create economic opportunities in Ghana’s construction sector for economically disadvantaged youth.
It is being implemented by the Global Communities in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation.
The project seeks to directly train 23,700 youth with technical construction and entrepreneurial skills leading to employment to improve their enabling environment.
Ms Mills Odoi said the project would offer 14,000 youth with technical training in construction through an apprenticeship program enhanced with entrepreneurship, life skills, safety and health training.
She said the project was targeting the youth between 17 and 24 years who lived on less than $2 a day in five major cities, comprising Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi, Ashaiman and Tema.
She said the project would apply an integrated youth-led market systems model to improve the capacity of youth and service providers across the construction value chain.
Mrs Mills Odoi explained that the project focused on the construction industry because it was the backbone of the country’s economy, which accounted for 8 .9 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
She said though the construction industry was one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, its growth did had not correspond with the number of unemployed youth as it employed only 2.8 per cent of the working population.
However, she said there were no specific government initiatives to create the necessary enabling environment for companies to employ young men and women in the construction sector.
Rather, government’s implicit policies were that the private sector should create its own necessary jobs for youth interested in the sector, she added.
Professor Patrick Agbesinyale, Director of IDS, UCC, said unemployment and issues relating to employment remained a major political challenge in Ghana.
He called for a thorough interrogation on the situation to find solutions from all angles to adequately address it.
Prof Agbesinyale said the glaring unemployment situation in country if not addressed properly, could generate controversies and disturb the peace of the country as unemployed youth were constantly being used as agents of violence.
He said unemployment issues must be brought to the centre stage of every discussions being it political, social or academic to have it addressed accordingly.