Entrepreneurship not the only solution to unemployment – UN Youth Envoy

The UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, has debunked assertion by some Ghanaian youth that the only solution to Ghana’s huge unemployment problem is entrepreneurship. In her estimation, entrepreneurship is just one of the solutions to deal with the canker but posited that the onus lies on government to remedy the situation by creating the enabling environment for the private sector including SMEs to thrive in the country in order to help create jobs for youth. Ms Jayathma Wickramanayake was reacting to an assertion by some youth at an open dialogue session for the youth on issues pertaining to unemployment during her visit to the country on Wednesday. The program was initiated by the UNFPA and supported by the UN Nations Country Team and some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the country. It provided an avenue for Ms. Wickramanayake to interact with Ghanaian youth to identify the challenges they face with the aim of finding solution to them. Some of the key issues that dominated the whole discussion include health, education, employment, environment and governance. The issue of unemployment in Ghana is alarming, begging for solution but to no avail. According to the 2017 World Bank Report, more than half of the Ghanaian population between the ages of 20 and 24 are unemployed due to job unavailability. The issue has gotten some youth thinking that establishing their own businesses could remedy the situation and help create jobs for the teeming unemployed since government alone is incapable of solving the problem. The youth said they regret their efforts are being thwarted due to the rigorous processes they have to go through each day to get their businesses on their feet. But commenting on the issue, Ms. Wickramanayake said: “I resonate with the idea that you’ve brought forward that entrepreneurship can be solution to the huge unemployment problem you’re facing right now. Allow me to disagree, I don’t think entrepreneurship is the only solution”. “I think the government also have a strong role to play if there’s no mechanism to create jobs. “It is not about giving government jobs to young people but allowing the private sector to come into the country, allowing SMEs to grow so that there can be more opportunities at the local level,community level, at the villages, cities and to the young people in their own country.” Speaking on the topic ‘Unemployment’, a youth delegate from the  Curious Minds Group,  Richard Dzikunu, questioned government’s conduct as regards the application of the outdated National Youth Policy in determining the current population census. “If we have a national youth policy based on 2000 census and we’re in 2018 and this is the same policy we’re still using, then what kind of direction is our government moving?” he quizzed. Richard referred to the issue as a real one which government must deal with dispassionately by coming out with an implementation plan backed with budget and real commitment. He added: “We’ve had the opportunity to be on other platforms and when our government represents us on international platforms they speak beautifully about youth empowerment but on the ground what are the figures going to the young people?” The forum witnessed presentation from some youth delegates and contributions from participants including guests who shed light on the issues confronting the youth in the country leading to exchange of philosophies. Present among the notable personalities who graced the event with their invaluable contributions include the Canadian Ambassador to Ghana, Heather Anne Cameroun, Niyi Ojuolape, UNFPA Country Representative of Ghana and the CEO of the National Youth Authority, Emmanuel Sin-Nyet Asigri.

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By Joseph Wemakor|Accra, Ghana  ]]>