Globally, youth are confronted by the stark reality of the significant challenges of securing decent employment. They are faced with the difficulty of transitioning from school to the world of work, often falling short in soft, transferable or vocational skills due to basic or no education. Therefore, they are not able to negotiate their way to employment. There is also inadequate access to market opportunities such as capital, entrepreneurship training, market information and access to markets for those with entrepreneurial mindsets.
Youth unemployment, a challenge in Ghana
The high risk of unemployment among youth in Ghana continues to be a major challenge, inspite of steady progress of economic growth yearly. The World Bank Ghana Country Report (2016) indicates that 48% of the Ghanaian youth within the ages of 15-24 were jobless, a situation which has not improved much since. The formal sector, which continues to be the preferred choice of many graduate youth, only employs 2% annually. Unfortunately, many of those who do not get employed do not have the necessary skills to set up their own businesses or cope in the informal sector. On the other hand, a significant number of young people, especially in rural areas, leave school early without or little technical and transferable skills.
Indeed, if allowed to continue for the next decade, unemployment in Ghana will become a national crisis. Low human capital levels continue to limit productivity and employment outcomes as evident by the majority of people working in subsistence agriculture, especially in rural Ghana, and the high informality in the Ghanaian economy with 63% of the Ghanaian labour force having either no education or up to basic education only.
Innovative approaches necessary
Pragmatic and innovative approaches to employment creation should be adopted to reverse the increasing youth unemployment situation in Ghana. The ability of youth to adapt and take advantage of the growth and contribute to Ghana’s GDP requires skills. Bridging the current labour demand and supply requires integrated approaches to employment creation and enterprise development.
SNV Ghana, through the Boosting Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in Ghana (GrEEn) project, seeks to empower youth by supporting training, job placements and enterprise development in the green space using its unique market-oriented and integrated employment promotion model, dubbed the ‘OYE model’. The Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE) approach matches youth aspirations with market opportunities in different sectors/value chains and uses an eco-system or integrated market development approach for long-term youth inclusion, scaling and impact.
Improving youth capacity
Under the GrEEn project, which is funded by the European Union through the EU Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF) for Africa, more than 5,000 Ghanaian youth’s capacity will be improved in the Ashanti and Western regions, to be employable and entrepreneurial. Additionally, GrEEn will match them with employment and market opportunities, mentoring them into (self-)employment and enterprise development.
Peer learning and networking, as well as the facilitation of dialogue and partnership among a wide range of stakeholders, will support the creation of conducive local environments for sustainable and green jobs and businesses led by innovative and dynamic youth dedicated to boosting their skills and transforming Ghana’s economy into a more climate resilient one.
Written By: Enoch Cudjoe, Senior Skills Development Advisor, GrEEn Project
This blog and its content do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.
 Ghana Living standard survey (GLSS7)