The European Alliance on Agricultural knowledge for Development

One of the most pressing challenges of today’s world, particularly in sub-Sahara Africa is unemployment. This growing global challenge, mainly among the youth, is frustrating and requires practical and immediate policies to resolve. The absence of policies and programmes to resolve rising youth unemployment could turn this potential human resources for development into agents of destruction and bring all development works to a standstill. The World Bank (2018) claims that this situation of unemployment in the regions (Africa and Middle East particularly) could results in risky behaviors including involvement in crime, youth uprising and unnecessary demonstrations and other social vices as has been witnessed in some North Africa and Middle East countries (World Bank, 2007), the effect of which may not be pleasant for the countries concerned.

The Bank and other bodies therefore suggest the need for more proactive efforts from governments and international organizations to resolve the issue immediately. This is because the situation negatively affects the welfare of young people and potentially the rest of the economy as this could lead to higher youth-to-adult unemployment rates because of the absence of opportunities to develop professionally. While youth employment could be ubiquitous, the rate or level varies from one country to another making one-size-fit all recommendation implausible. In addition, a couple of World Bank reports (World Bank, 2010; World Bank 2016) on youth employment programme suggest that there is little evidence of the impact on existing youth-targeted employment interventions in many labor-abundant, lowincome countries with weak institutions, such as those found in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of South Asia. Information on youth as a beneficiary group of such programmes for further analysis, programming and policy decisions are often limited. For these and other important reasons, it has become more imperative to analyse the effects of existing youth employment initiatives to inform future policy decisions aimed at harnessing the potential of the youth for employment creation in Ghana and elsewhere. The current study, therefore, aims to access youth employment opportunities in rural economies of Ghana. The study used both primary and secondary data to analyse the effectiveness and efficiency of youth employment initiatives and the factors influencing youth employment. Questionnaires were administered to 662 respondents, and Key Informant Interviews were also carried out. The results showed that majority of the youth employment programme beneficiaries were women, yet this social group have high unequal access to education as compared to their male counterparts. Among the programmes considered for the study, REP was most effective and efficient programme providing skills training to create employment opportunities, mostly in Ghana’s rural areas. . Unlike other programmes, REP has administrative offices in all the districts so they are able to bring their services to the doors of the youth. The study empirically estimated and analysed the factors that affect youth employment. The study found out that participation in youth employment programme, marital status, participation in youth entrepreneurial and development programme, educational level, and age were the statistically significant factors affecting youth employment. These factors were also positively related to youth employment.  Untapped resources are normally found in the agricultural sector, however, lack of financial resources, inadequate technical knowledge, lack of ready market and low prices, and poor infrastructure have contributed to the neglect of these resources. Policies and programmes to promote female education should be reviewed since current policies appear not to be yielding the desired results. Government need to expand current youth employment programmes because participation in such programmes increases the possibility of been employed. Also, the large number of young people who are churned out into the labour market each year should be taken into consideration. Efforts to make education accessible to the youth need to be encouraged and aggressively promoted since the higher the level of education of the youth, the higher the probability of securing employment. Youth entrepreneurial and development programmes also needs to be promoted since these increase the likelihood of obtaining employment.

Source from: FARAAFRICA