“The focus of youth and employment in Africa must be a priority for governments, involving young people in decision making processes and ensuring that the outcome of the World Bank report becomes a reality for African Youth.”
The political instability in Africa has been illustrated by series of rises in unemployment resulting from Civil wars, destruction of many industries, and a variety of consequent economic setback. For my country Liberia, much of the unemployment and underemployment has accompanied my migration from my home country seeking educational opportunities in Ghana.
In Ghana, the problem of youth unemployment and underemployment is a major developmental challenge. I have seen friends who have completed their undergraduate degree three years ago still in search of jobs today. In fact, many of the youths are constantly complaining, voicing to government and cooperate institutions to give them an employment opportunity. The situation in Ghana appears to be fractionalized from my perspective as a youth advocate. In Ghana unemployment arises because youth between the ages range of 15 and 35 seeking jobs do not find them immediately. They are on the outlook for work opportunities and are counted as unemployed. For this reason, there is unease between the demand for and supply of labor.
The brainstorming session on youth employment in Africa on April 20, 2012, in Ghana that was held by the World Bank in collaboration with African Gathering has proven to be highly educative, essential to offer solutions to youth employment in Africa, especially Ghana. At the brainstorming session we were being asked series of theoretical and logical questions, critical enough in opening a dialogue between participants. In fact, I was marveled by questions like, how creative can we get in getting our own jobs? How do we spot employment opportunities when it’s starring at you? Why aren’t we employed? Who is employed and who is not? How can we create more jobs? Who is making our dreams come true?
From the brainstorming session, I learned that the jobs are available in Ghana but are not enough. There are technical and vocational areas that need to be tackle addressing youth empowerment including skills, entrepreneurship, new discipline, Innovation and creativity, gender issues, financial burden and the
mindset of the youth. To some extent, the academic environment has not provided the right education for the youth that can match our skills to compete on the job market. The curriculum needs to be reviewed bringing onboard creativity and Invocation, information technology, liberal arts in teaching, career and counseling.
Although employment is a major challenge, we believe that the youth need a ‘One Stop Shop’: a resource centers that will provide career counseling, innovation and technical advice, resource, business database and information, mentoring, and information technological. Regarding Information Technological, there must be creation of IT or ICT centers, more ICT software and Institutions. Agriculture must be prioritized. The government is fully responsible for implementing and monitoring policies. They must listen to the voice of the youth by giving us the chance to peruse our selected careers without deciding for us. They must also encourage entrepreneurship and enforce career counseling.
Change must start in tertiary institutions. The youth must be encouraged, knowing that our talents are important and significant towards national development. We must follow our talents and passion at all times by seeking developmental opportunities. Furthermore, a risk taking environment should enable young people to take risks. Facilities and criteria that constitute an efficient employed business centers must be set.
According to the current National Youth policy of Ghana, employment creation remains a major priority in the country’s development agenda and it is the goal of Government to provide the youth with opportunities for employment and labour market information. In this connection, the policy aims at; building the capacity of the youth to discover wealth-creating opportunities in their backyards and environment; enabling the youth to have access to reliable and adequate labour market information; creating opportunities for young people to take advantage of available jobs; and training and preparing the youth for the global market.
The conclusion of the brainstorming session is of particular relevance for Ghana and Africa. We are positive that the sessions in Kenya and Democratic Republic of Congo will result into a great content, providing recent analysis of the challenges to youth employment from the lack of implementation of government commitments in the regions. In particular, the focus of youth and employment in Africa must be a priority for governments, involving young people in decision making processes and ensuring that the outcome of the World Bank report becomes a reality for African Youth. We thank the World Bank fir creating a report on youth employment in Africa and identifying that the input from the continent’s youth is paramount. This decision reflects the reality of involving the youth to offer solutions to youth employment.
Joseph M D Johnson, DAFI Scholar, Liberian Youth Advocate, founder & CEO of the Youth Empowerment for Progress – YEP; highly involved in youth empowerment and African youth activities and is a certified AU Youth Volunteer – shortly studying at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration – GIMPA. Johnson is also multi-talented, an expert in planning and implementing Youth Projects and Programs that focus on Quality Education, Youth Participation, Good Governance, Employment and ICT.