What plans has the new government for Ghana’s 5.2% unemployment rate?

Category: Editorials/Opinion 42

The unemployment rate in Ghana declined to 5.20 per cent in 2013 from 5.96 percent in 2010. The rate averaged 8.82 per cent from 2001 until 2013, and then rising 12.90 per cent in 2005, before dropping to 5.20 per cent in 2013.

With a projected growth of 7.4 per cent in 2017, based on oil production expected from the Tweneboa, Enyenra and Ntomme (TEN) oil field, which would raise Ghana’s oil production to some 50 per cent more, how could that lead to job creation?

Ghana has a population of 26 million, largely youth, and an economy that is primarily agriculture based, a sector which is also known to have employed most Ghanaians.

A 2016 report by the World Bank indicated that about 48 per cent of the youth in Ghana between the ages of 15 and 24 years do not have jobs.

“In Ghana, youth are less likely than adults to be working: in 2012, about 52 per cent of people aged 15-24 were employed (compared to about 90 per cent for the 25-64 population), a third were in school, 14 per cent were inactive and 4 per cent were unemployed actively looking for job. Young women in the same age group are particularly disadvantaged and have much higher inactivity rates that men: 17 per cent of young female are inactive as opposed to 11 per cent of males,” the report said.

The regional outlook is not encouraging. The unemployment rate in sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to stand at 7.2 per cent in 2017, unchanged from 2016, according to the latest World Employment Social Outlook (WESO) trends reports 2017 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The report notes that while the unemployment rate remains stable, the number of unemployed is expected to increase from 28 million in 2016 to 29 million in 2017 due to the region’s strong labour force growth.

According to the report, while the regional unemployment rate does not convey the considerable cross-country heterogeneity, in particular, it masks persistently high unemployment in South Africa, where the unemployment rate, which stood at over 25.9 per cent in 2016, is expected to continue to climb, to reach more than 26 per cent by 2018, it said.

The new government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) made job creation one of its campaign promises. As some of the ministers have started settling in their roles, shall we begin to see the specific plans for job creation?

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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