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Ghana unemployment Time to do something about youth unemployment

An Unemployed youth, Alfred Ogua tells Pulse Business reporter Abu Mubarik the daily challenges of boys without jobs.

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Opinion: In this small community, located about 15 km from downtown Kasoa, young and energetic boys of working age gather to play their usual Saturday morning football.

While waiting for some of their colleagues to arrive, they argue sharply and passionately about their favourite clubs and players abroad. They talk politics, they talk jobs and discuss their plans.

They hope against hope that a football scout may chance on them and select a few of them, and that could be the beginning of great things to come, they hope.

The boys share one common fate. They are largely unemployed, Alfred Ogua tells me in a typical Fante voice.

“In this area, there are no jobs, I have been to Accra several times to search for jobs. But even there, they say no job. Most of the boys you see here too, they don’t work, like they don’t do any serious work. They either sell credit or do something to survive,” Ogua says.

Ogua’s plight is shared by many youth across this country.

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According to the World Bank, 4.60 per cent of Ghana's 26 million people are unemployed.

This, in my estimation, is under estimated. There is a flawed system of accessing unemployment in Ghana, if there’s any at all.

In Ghana, the unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for a job, so if you are not looking for work, you are technically not unemployed.

The Ghana Statistical Service, if my memory is not failing me, has never presented figures on our employment situation. It will be embarrassing, so the political elites are not interested.

In his recent state visit to Ghana, Italian PM Matteo Renzi asked African leaders to respect human dignity by creating jobs for their people so as to prevent them from risking their lives to seek greener pastures in Europe.

“You must create jobs and implement policies that will attract investments to stop these migrations,” he said.

He added that because of the staggering unemployment rate in Africa, many youth risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea into Italy and other European states, amid all the uncertainty to seek greener pastures.

Ogua agrees with the Italian PM. “I heard him, they were talking about it on radio,” he says. “But our leaders don’t care much about us.

He hopes to travel abroad to make some money, not only for himself, but to look after his family too.

Security and labour experts have said unemployment constitutes a major threat to national security and the earlier policy makers push for job opportunities, especially for the youth, the better for us all.

According Dr. Kingsley Adjei , a security expert in International Conflict Management at the University of Cape Coast, when people are unable to meet their economic needs, they resort to other illegal means to achieve their aims, he told Accra based Adom FM.

He believes there are rising levels of frustration due to the economic hardship, unemployment and high cost of living and these have contributed to the crime rate in Ghana.

It is now time for policy makers to focus on job creation and limitless opportunities, lest we throw our country in danger.
 

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