President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is in the news for promising to provide one million jobs for the youth of Ghana.
According to Ghana’s National Youth Policy (2010), the youth are those aged15-35 years.
Meanwhile, the nation’s 1992 Republican Constitution (section 29) and Children’s Act of 1998 both define a child as a human being below the age of 18, meaning that the President’s promise has to do with those aged 18 and above, if they are not in school or apprenticeship.
The Ghana 2015 Labour Force Survey states that the youth constitute 35.9 per cent of the population and 17 per cent are estimated to be unemployed, and that given the high youth labour under-utilisation rate of 42 per cent, the proportion of unemployed youth could be more.
Therefore, using 20 per cent and the soon-to-change population of 30.40 million, unemployed youth could be six million.
Even if we can use other factors like some of these people doing their own things and so may not need state employment, we can have some three million unemployed youth.
The number of the youth who, upon learning of recruitments into the security institutions and other organisations, rush to the designated venues for consideration, coupled with the situation where some youth are under-employed, should tell everyone that even if President Akufo-Addo is able to provide the one million jobs, they would not be enough.
Already, some youth are into all manner of crimes to survive such as robbery, ritual money and contract killing.
That is to say that youth unemployment is a security threat to life, property and the very progress of the country.
Therefore, the Ghanaian Times wishes to appeal to all stakeholders, both state and private sector players, and even capable families, to support President Akufo-Addo to realise his vision of addressing youth unemployment.
The President’s initiative must be treated as a special case and made to succeed at all cost.
However, that cannot kill youth unemployment so we need to make conscious and deliberate efforts to address the problem, going forward.
One way is to empower the youth with the knowledge and skills that are needed in the current scheme of things of industry.
We also have to run civic education for the citizenry to respect all manner of jobs and not to have the slightest reason to demean even those ones which they themselves would not like to take up.
Another thing is the control of our rapid population growth. It is said that Ghana is currently growing at 2.15 per cent per annum and that by current projections, its present population of 30.40 million will more than double over the next 80 years, reaching 78.71 million in 2099.
The implications of the alarming population growth are dire with regard to food, water, sanitation, education, other social amenities and employment.
Education, including family life and family planning and teachings at the church and mosque, can help reduce the number of births or help families properly space out births.
The government should adopt a policy or law that can make it possible for it to collaborate with traditional authorities to address all land use issues so farmlands can be preserved for agricultural activities to reduce unemployment.
The Ghanaian Times believes with proper planning, including the appropriate stakeholder engagement, youth unemployment and unemployment in general could be drastically reduced, if not completely eradicated.