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Graphic Business-Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting: Tackling unemployment to create wealth

BY: Charles Benoni Okine
From L-R: Nana Osei Bonsu - President of the Private Enterprises Federation, Florence Hope-Wudu - Managing Consultant, Purple Almond Consulting Services and Dr Adu Owusu Sarkodie - Economics Lecturer, University of Ghana
From L-R: Nana Osei Bonsu - President of the Private Enterprises Federation, Florence Hope-Wudu - Managing Consultant, Purple Almond Consulting Services and Dr Adu Owusu Sarkodie - Economics Lecturer, University of Ghana

The country’s unemployment rate is reported to be at an all-time high after increased population and low economic output pushed the rate back into the double digits as at the last count.

A Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) report showed that the rate of people who are available for work but unable to find jobs had doubled to 13.4 per cent in 2021 from the 5.3 per cent recorded in 2010.

The 2021 figure, which was announced in the General Report on the 2021 Population and Housing Census, is now the highest since 1984 — when the country’s unemployment data was first reported.

What is even more startling is the fact that out of the economically active population of 11.54 million, the report showed that 1.55 million were unemployed.

The youth between the ages of 15 years and 24 years were the worse hit, according to the report.

In terms of regional breakdown, the report showed that the unemployment situation was worst in the Savanna Region but lowest in the Oti Region.

Joblessness

Clearly, the figures show that the current unemployment rate is a reflection of the jobless situation in the country.

For instance, the report indicated that the unemployment rate among the female population was 15.5 per cent, higher than the rate for males, which was 11.6 per cent.

The rate was also 32.8 per cent for young adults between the ages of 15 years and 24 years but 19.7 per cent among people between the ages of 15 years and 35.

Breakfast meeting

As a result of this sad development, the Graphic Business, the financial newspaper in the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) stable and the leading financial newspaper in the country, in collaboration with Stanbic Bank, one of the country’s foremost financial institutions, deemed it fit to highlight the gravity of the unemployment situation in the country and suggest ways to address it.

On Tuesday, June 14, it will host the second quarter Graphic Business-Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting on the theme “Tackling Unemployment to Create Wealth — Opportunities for Ghana.

To be held at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra, the event is expected to attract experts from academia and the business community as well as human resource practitioners, to suggest ways by which the government can accelerate efforts at addressing the problem.

Speakers/perspectives

To ensure that the discussions fall in line to elicit the right responses, the distinguished panellists selected for the programme will speak to three different perspectives.

For instance, Dr Adu Owusu Sarkodie, Economics Lecturer, University of Ghana, will speak on the first perspective which is about Sources and Causes of Unemployment.

Florence Hope-Wudu, Managing Consultant, Purple Almond Consulting Services, will share insights on Existing and New Opportunities while Nana Osei Bonsu, President of the Private Enterprises Federation (PEF), will speak on the topic: Avenues for jobs and wealth creation.

The event which is expected to be streamed live on Facebook and other social media platforms of Graphic and Stanbic will be co-chaired by George Owusu-Ansah, Managing Director of Unilever Ghana, and Ellen Hagan, Chief Executive Officer of L’aine Services.

The challenge

It is sad to note from the census report on unemployment that a large number of university and other tertiary graduates use an average of five years to find jobs after they had completed school or perhaps national service.

The development compels many of the frustrated ones, particularly the men, to become criminals while some of the ladies become prostitutes against their wish.

At best, some force their way to start petty trading with the dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Others try other things just to have an income that can only last them a day.

This precarious phenomenon has compelled security experts to describe the situation as a serious national security risk which must be tackled head-on in the interest of peace.

Way forward

At a time when terrorists are combing the sub-region and causing mayhem, there are fears that should they find their way here into the country, it will be easy to recruit some of the unemployed youth to perpetrate all manner of crimes.

The government in its quest to address the challenge has come up with a number of initiatives to help reverse the trend.

These include the YouStart programme which is meant to help students from school to become entrepreneurs and start their own business.

Working with the private sector to achieve its objectives, some nine banks have signed on with many more to yet to come on board.

While at it, there are also calls for the government to seriously ensure that policies such as the Planting for Food and Jobs and the One District One Factory, are well implemented to create employment avenues for the youth while the country becomes self-sufficient in food production with the capacity to add value to raw exports.

It is further expected the experts assembled will add on to the knowledge by suggesting other means by which this problem can be well addressed.