Africa currently faces a chronic unemployment problem, especially for youth under age 35. In the face of this chronic unemployment, the youth feel disempowered, frustrated and disoriented. This has key implications for political, social and economic instability as can be evidenced by the global increase in protest in other continent, many fueled by youth frustration and unemployment.
One of the most important factors contributing to youth unemployment in Ghana is the relatively low levels of skills among young people. The Youth need to be prepared to redefine “jobs” based on shifting opportunities and continue to adapt to bridge the skills-opportunity gap. To do that, the youth have to cultivate and exercise the skills of the future that can help them create solutions for complex problems while in turn bringing value to the labor market and creating a demand for their skills.
Acquiring these much-needed skills, leadership (courage and confidence as initiators), hands-on problem-solving (creativity, agency for change making and critical thinking) and teamwork will enable young people to be at the helm of the reconstruction and development of Ghana.
Given the current state of youth unemployment in Ghana, the youth are been challenged to seize the opportunities created by the government in order to create a better life for themselves and their families. The long-term solution to Ghana’s unemployment crisis is to create a nation of entrepreneurs and not a nation of job-seekers and thus WASEN Ghana is confident that the Youth Enterprise Investment (YEI) initiative will help to reverse the youth unemployment trend through appropriate research, quality training and a relevant mentorship that responds to the needs of entrepreneurial development of young people.
The initiative is vital to future economic development and prosperity and will ensure young entrepreneurs are encouraged and cultivated. It will celebrate Ghana’s best and brightest young entrepreneurs whose successful businesses and achievements contribute immensely to local, national, global economies as well as to their communities.
The initiative has already began rolling out regional business clinics which seeks to develop, grow and sustain youth enterprises through skills transfer and support from experts in the field of business.
The three biggest challenges most often cited by young entrepreneurs who apply for support are, acquiring financing, access to mentorship and advice, and network opportunities. Traditional financial institutions generally refuse to lend to early stage enterprises because they do not meet their established client criteria and are not seen as offering sufficient guarantees. As a result, YEI intend to support early stage entrepreneurs to build scale and market capacity as well.
It will offer the right levels of support to youth enterprises that often face difficulty in accessing loans from traditional banks. YEI business training and development support will focus on providing finance, business management training and problem solving support to budding and experienced young entrepreneurs.
The program will ensure young entrepreneurs have abundant opportunities to grow and develop their enterprises in an environment that nurtures the development of these enterprises and enhances their job creation potential.
The West Africa Social Entrepreneurs Network (WASEN Ghana) is proud to act as a catalyst of capacity for this wonderful initiative. It plans to contribute and to engage in a conversation with like-minded organizations on innovative ways to strengthen youth entrepreneurship by creating the right eco-system of support for the YEI initiative.