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Addressing Unemployment Challenges in Ghana

One of the most pressing problems for Ghana is certainly unemployment. The World Bank (2016) reports that 48% of youths in Ghana are unemployed. The official government definition of this part of the population includes those of 18 to 35 years of age — about a quarter of the population. 

The growing rate of urbanization without the creation of an adequate or proportional number of jobs, coupled with the relatively high growth rate of the population, has caused unemployment to be extremely high. Young people are worse off, with some estimates suggesting that only as little as two percent are able to find employment. The rest are left to engage in [small-scale] activities in the informal sector to make ends meet. The government has, however, undertaken a number of countermeasures, most notably the National Youth Employment Program spearheaded by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, in order to see to the alleviation of this pressing issue, yet to no avail!

Addressing the Challenge of Unemployment
The primary responsibility for addressing these challenges rests with Africans. To address youth employment, the following actions must be taken:

  • Promote entrepreneurship among the youth:  How would you develop any country when the dream of the majority of its youth and elite is not entrepreneurship, innovation, education and self-sufficiency, but the dream to have a job with a humanitarian organization or to get their project financed by some International aid Agency or proxy. The youth should be informed on the prestige of being an employer rather than an employee. They should be encouraged to seize every opportunity to use the skills and tools acquired through education and training to start their own business. This will help them create employment for themselves and others. 

  • Support for the private sector: Every government must understand that the private sector is the engine of the growth for the economy. It usually employs more people than the government does. Therefore it is imperative for the government to create friendly policies for the private sector to grow [which will in turn] create more jobs for the youth. 

  • Ghanaian business people have to create the industries that will generate the jobs workers need.  Teachers have to provide the education that children need to be economically productive and politically effective. 

  • Parents must give their children the love, security, and discipline they need to grow into responsible and courageous adults.




About The Author

Aurelia Evame Bissabah
Ghana
Aurelia is a Social Worker, who has focused on Rural Development issues in her country. In her duty as a youth activist she advocates for improving the condition of women in Ghana. She is especially concerned with changing the status of women by eliminating bad social norms and tackling the violence and discrimination they are victims of.





The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of IGNITE THE YOUTH are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the entire society of IGNITE THE YOUTH.

Posted by ITY AFRICA

Addressing Unemployment Challenges in Ghana

The "Fancy Job" Search in Rwanda

www.newsofrwanda.com - 2012
Although Rwanda has relatively low youth unemployment rates compared to other countries in Africa, there is so much to be done for those without employment. Unemployment rates in the country were 4.7% in 2001 and increased to a record 13.2% in 2016. This increase in the unemployment rate directly corresponds to youth in Rwanda, since about 70% of the country’s population are youth (below 35 years of age).

For young people who need to make their own future this is a crucial issue. Rwanda has established different policies to reduce youth unemployment. Youth talents are now being considered, free professional courses are provided, primary and secondary studies are free for public schools and entrepreneurial training is available. Despite all these efforts made by the government, youth unemployment continues to be a problem and worsens almost every day. We are forced to wonder if the policies we have introduced are not enough to prevent the increase of joblessness. 

A number of Rwandan youth claim that their unemployment is due to the fact that their skills and knowledge are not “believed in” by companies, institutions, schools and other organizations. As a result, the job vacancies in these places are offered to people from abroad who come to work in Rwanda. Is this craze to import employees due to the incapability of Rwandans or to the underestimation of their skills? This is a problem found in many African countries and the issue even featured in discussions at the Transform Africa Summit in Rwanda earlier this year.

In some cases a low level of education bars youth from employment opportunities. There is a great number of Rwandans who complete their studies in different fields but who are not able to perform what they learnt. A lot of the time this is because of the lack of internships or chances to put their learning into practice. It is not easy for a person to engage you as his/her employee if they doubt your education and experience, which leads us to import our workforce. 

However, it must be said that some young men deny doing some jobs. A number of people are still unemployed, not because they lost jobs but because they are looking for ‘elegant’ jobs. They prefer physical smartness over self-development, they prefer sitting in an office and typing than doing mechanical works and getting their clothes dirty. As youth, we cannot expect a large number of us to get this particular type of employment since the vacancies for them are very limited [and there are ladders to climb]. It is possible for young people to create simple jobs (businesses) in Rwanda, but a very small number attempts to because the rest of the youth are still waiting for ‘great jobs’ and not simple ones - but the truth is “for someone to be on the top, he must start from the bottom”.

With unemployment growing as an issue, the Rwandan government encourages youth to create their own employment. Each year hundreds of businesses are born, but only a few of them survive. A lot of people prefer buying products produced aboard which has led to losses for Rwandan companies and thus a large number of the youth fear creating businesses so as to avoid the experience of failing. In my opinion, the problem isn’t that products are not made in Rwanda and by Rwandans. The products we are making are not good quality and nobody is going to buy something substandard just because it is made from his motherland. 

Financial constraints and other circumstances can be obstacles for us, but our brains, unity and hard work will save us from unemployment. Rwandans, and Africans in general, should continue to devise strategic policies to deal with youth unemployment effectively. As governments work to create a supportive environment the African youth should not continue waiting for the ‘fancy’ jobs. It is time to wake up and meet in the middle, so We shouldn’t have to leave our continent to chase employment when we can rather fill the gaps in our countries by creating opportunities.



About The Author

Marie Louise Uwibambe
Rwanda
Marie currently studies Computer Science Engineering. As a youth herself, she believes the time has come for young people in Rwanda and Africa as a whole to take the initiative and lead. She believes in the potential of youth and that their time to lead is now!




The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of IGNITE THE YOUTH are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the entire society of IGNITE THE YOUTH.


Posted by ITY AFRICA

The "Fancy Job" Search in Rwanda

Youth Champions for The Africa We Want

‘The time is now for African Youth to champion Africa’s integration and unity for the Africa we want before 2063!

Three weeks ago, I was engaged in a Pan African conversation with 15 young leaders between 22 -29 years old. Among the several issues examined was the Agenda 2063, especially in line with potential dividends for African youth. One of these youth posed a question as to whether we believe Agenda 2063 is realistic enough and how we thought youth could be engaged to ensure its effective implementation. Another puzzle was raised regarding alternative measures to ensure effective realization of the Agenda considering that it was largely conceived and drafted by the very African governments and leaders whose failures with previous ambitious development Agendas cannot be over emphasized. These preoccupations are just few of the many concerns that various African stakeholders have been expressing vis-à-vis Agenda2063. 

PHOTO: LIVE NEWS ALGERIE
How realistic is the Agenda 2063 for the African youth?
In response to this concern, most of the youth leaders present enthusiastically reacted by expressing their frustrations and pessimism regarding such development initiative including Agenda 2063 that have been undertaken by the African Union and her member states without prior consultation of all stakeholders including the youth and women. In concord with these youths, it is incumbent on us to further stress that Agenda 2063 still lacks the spirit/sense of ownership from African masses majority of whom are youth and women in whose hands any sustainable future for Africa depends. Secondly, the fact that since launching the Agenda 2063 by the African Union, it remains unpopular even among the African elites/urban populations talk less of the rural masses compared to the impressive popularity of the global Agenda 2030 (SDGs). Thirdly, it is no more secret that over 60% of the over 1.3 billion African population are youth especially below 30 years old. This justifies the current thematic focus on ‘Harnessing the demographic dividends by investing in the youth’ under the auspices of the African Union. It is the overwhelming potentials, positive energy, enthusiasm, determination, responsible leadership, unity anchored on the ideals of Pan Africanism which when harnessed would guarantee realization of the Agenda 2063. But, African governments and leaders need to increase investments in the holistic grooming of youth proportionate to their needs, challenges and contributions to Africa’s sustainable development. 

In a more optimistic tone, I share the conviction that with a steadily increasing youth population with more consciousness and burning quest for ‘An Integrated Continent, Politically United Based on the Ideals of Pan Africanism and the Vision of Africa’s Renaissance’, it mainly suffices to invest, encourage and mentor youth towards the Africa they want even sooner than 2063. With ‘#YouthPower’, collective efforts and determination, African youth possess all it takes to drive change across the continent for the future they want and not a destiny imposed on them by less than 40% of an aging generation that is not sure to live and be held accountable again for their failures in realizing the African Renaissance. The outcomes of an integrated Africa, politically united shall be lived more by current generations of youth below 30 years old who should not afford to miss another chance of actively engaging at all levels of policy making and effective implementation.  

Furthermore, it is imperative to invest in the capacity building and political empowerment of youth so they can become outstanding leaders in fostering good governance, democracy, human rights, and above all sustainable development in their respective societies. While these constitute some of the bench marks towards African renaissance, it is equally vital to note that African youth must be proactive in taking their current governments to task by ensuring they are more accountable throughout their mandates.  To hold others accountable implies we young people must also be responsible through engagement in positive actions that guarantee transformation or social impact from local to national and continental levels. We must clamour for economic empowerment, employment opportunities, infrastructure, energy, ICT and high speed internet, industrialisation of agriculture, among other priority sectors that demand youth engagement towards a prosperous Africa. 


About The Author

Sakah Bernard Nsaidzedze
Cameroon
Sakah is currently doing his PhD in "Governance and Regional Integration" at the Pan-African University. He is also an African Youth Activist and a member of the International Panel for Ignite The Youth.






The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of IGNITE THE YOUTH are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the entire society of IGNITE THE YOUTH.



Posted by ITY AFRICA

Youth Champions for The Africa We Want

The African Youth Magazine

A monthly magazine, powered by the efforts of African Youth Activists from across the continent. Featuring the most diverse and dynamic youth perspectives of young people throughout Africa! A project from the Volunteer Social Media Activism Program of Ignite The Youth.


Posted by Philani Hlophe Dhlamini

The African Youth Magazine

When a Crisis Brings Opportunity

Aspiration No. 2, of the continental vision known as Agenda 2063, is for Africa in the next 50 years to become an “An Integrated Continent, Political Unity based on Pan-Africanism & African Renaissance.” This vision has been informed by the historical abuse Africa received under colonialism. Current events throughout Africa, specifically focusing on Zimbabwe’s currency problems, highlight the potential for Southern Africa to unite economically. Unfortunately though, it seems as if we might miss this chance, making Agenda 2063 - like most African policies - a pipe dream.

AFP -Aaron Ufumeli
The Zimbabwean Dollar’s ($ZD) fall from grace is well documented and well known. The currency had the highest inflation in recent world monetary history. This crisis highlighted an opportunity and more specifically the question of which currency Zimbabwe would use to stabilize its monetary problems. The Zimbabwean Finance Minister in 2009 proposed adopting the South African Rand as the official currency of Zimbabwe.

The logic for such a proposal was rather simple. South Africa is Zimbabwe’s largest economic partner (60% of Zimbabwean imports come from South Africa). They have more or less similar economic structures which rely on commodities and agriculture, making the nations home to one of the busiest trade routes in Africa: Beitbridge Border Post (not to mention the myriad of South African companies already in Zimbabwe).

Most importantly, Southern Africa already has what is called the Rand Union. It’s a block of economies that include Namibia and Botswana where the nations have their own currencies pegged with the Rand. Zimbabwe could have been incorporated into this scheme, [with a prospect of] the Union being altered to accommodate Zimbabwe’s situation.

The opportunity was unfortunately missed in the political circles of both nations. The ruling parties in both nations (ZANU PF and ANC) are steeped in deep nationalist ideology with national sovereignty being an all important issue for either of them. Zimbabwe was worried of the control SA would have over its own economy because SA has a significantly larger economy. On the other hand, SA was worried of allowing an unstable economy into its monetary structures. 

This was a highly unfortunate situation which highlighted one vital issue. African nations still define themselves, their wealth and future in the confines and definitions forced upon them by colonialism and current neo-liberalism. We ignore the possibility of a United Africa with one currency as envisioned by Pan-Africanists like Gaddafi and Nyerere, [opting instead] for a selfish outlook propagated by men in the halls of the White House, Westminster and more recently, Beijing.

8 years later after adopting a “multi-currency basket” in which the US Dollar is the dominant currency, Zimbabwe is consequently suffering from an incessant cash crisis. One which is crippling any possibility for economic growth in the nation. It leaves one to wonder, how much better Zimbabwe’s monetary situation would have been if we had adopted the Rand, leading to a Southern African currency back in 2009. It leaves us wondering, how much closer we would have been with our South African brothers and sisters. Maybe xenophobic attacks wouldn’t have happened! Maybe we would have realised that the future of all Africans is within all our hands and it’s time we hold hands as we walk towards a grander future.


About The Author
Kudakwashe Andrew Manjonjo
Zimbabwe
Kudakwashe is youth activist from Zimbabwe. His activism is centred on delivering Zimbabwean youth from  an unemployment crisis. He has been active in many public campaigns, featuring in prominent protest groups and agitating for youth empowerment to be institutionalized.  


The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of IGNITE THE YOUTH are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the entire society of IGNITE THE YOUTH.




Posted by ITY AFRICA

When a Crisis Brings Opportunity

Kenya's Stroke - Corruption

Kenya Suffers The Corruption Stroke

Kenya House of Assembly - Photo Credit (buzzkenya.com)
A stroke occurs when the supply of blood to the brain is either interrupted or reduced. The brain does not get enough oxygen or nutrients which cause brain cells to die.

In Africa and more especially in my country Kenya, corruption is the stroke that has destroyed my beautiful motherland. Just like a stroke attack, corruption extends from high ranking officials to low ranking officials in both public and private sectors. It is these officials who embezzle funds by employing ghost workers or paying a lot of money to non-existent projects, making sure all that diverted money finds its way into their pockets. This makes organizations collapse and [as a result] several people lose their jobs due to retrenchment or early retirement [in order for] the organization to be revived. With the loss of jobs, the gap between the rich and the poor widens and unemployment increases.

Right now in Kenya, if you want to get wealthy without any sweat, you ensure that you have a top post in any public or private sector. This is where you can embezzle funds and no one questions you since you are a powerful person in society! If you are questioned, you can “Buy” your way out of the case if it is reported.

Most young people have stopped working hard at school and you will find them gambling or vying for political seats. This year the Member of County Assembly (MCA) has attracted several youth; you find that in a county over ten (10) people are vying for a seat in the MCA. The reason for this being that - as a politician you can get rich by stealing public funds. Hence the common say [you will hear] is “it is our turn to eat”.

In 2016, Kenya was listed as the third most corrupt country in the world by PricewaterhouseCoopers. This gets me thinking, what kind of country will we leave to the young generation who are coming in after us? Who will clean up the mess for them? Something must be done and we the youth of today must do that “something”. We need to bring the change we want to see in our country. We need to stop giving bribes to evade the petty crimes when driving or paying money in order to get service in government offices. Procurement fraud and accounting fraud should be brought to an end by us! We need to embrace honesty, transparency and hard work in everything we do.

The young generation ought to be educated on importance of being true to oneself and country. They ought to be shown how sweet it is to reap the fruit of hard work and the joy of being a corruption free country. These words from the second stanza of our national anthem sums up my message to the young people in Africa and in Kenya:

“Let one and all arise
With hearts both strong and true
Service be our earnest endeavour
And our homeland of Kenya
Heritage of splendour
Firm may we stand to defend.”



About The Author

Belly Jullians Orondo
Kenya
Belly Jullians is a vocal social media activist from Kenya, who fights for "young people to be accepted for who they are in their entirety". Being a beneficiary of a strong local community herself, her activism revolves around issues that affect the community as a whole. 











The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of IGNITE THE YOUTH are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the entire society of IGNITE THE YOUTH.

Posted by ITY AFRICA

Kenya's Stroke - Corruption

CORRUPTION: The Need To Strengthen Our Enforcement Agencies


Corruption has been in existence since time immemorial. However, over the past fifty (50) years, especially after the attainment of Independence for many African countries, it has reached an alarming level! If care is not taken to put proper checks in place, Africa will continue to wallow in poverty. Most countries around the world experience some level of corruption, but in Africa, it can simply be described as outrageous. You have a Member of Parliament or a minister siphoning money and other resources, meant for the provision of portable drinking water, accommodation and food, to his foreign account without even thinking twice. When investigations are done and the culprit found guilty, then the long bureaucracy sets in.  You find many people, mainly in the ruling party, backing the culprit and playing all sorts of delay tactics with the case and its procedure.

Many institutions have been put up to check cases of corruption as well as the legal instruments to make their work possible. However, the greatest challenge we face as a continent is on law enforcement. You can have the best of laws available and the institutions to apply them, but as long as the human beings running them are easily compromised, you will certainly not make any headway in solving the crisis! It is like having the best architect to plan your building, however well-schemed the building is, if you don't have the requisite people with the necessary tools to carry it out. It will only remain a mirage, or to put it better 'just a plan on paper'.

Politicians have taken us for granted for so long! They easily forget how discerning the electorates are and after some time in office they begin to show arrogance, impunity and abuse their incumbency. In Ghana we operate with a unitary system of government, hence if there is a shift in power we experience a phenomenon of 'winner takes it all'. It sometimes leads to the abuse of incumbency, since a simple majority vote gets bills passed and contracts signed, regardless of whether it is at the benefit of the nation or otherwise. An example of this is when the majority of Parliamentarians also have their presidential candidate as president or when a member of the ruling party is found guilty of corruption, the incumbent government tends to 'shield their own'. 

One case that has remained unresolved to this day is that of a Judgement Debt wrongfully paid to the financier of the then incumbent political party. After so many years of haggling and protracted court dates, he was finally asked to refund the money wrongfully paid to him. He has shown no remorse of his action and has not yet paid a dime of the whooping amount - over $10 million dollars (GH¢51.2 million)! The Attorney General, who during his tenure in office, approved such a payment is alleged to have had a share of the loot along with many other prominent people in the same party. We as citizens had to organize a series of demonstrations and press conferences to drum home our demand to see justice served. We still keep our fingers crossed, keeping in mind that that tax-payer's money is safely returned to the national coffers.

I was marveled when recently the South Korean president was impeached according to the laws of their land for using her office to compel corporate organizations to donate to the charity organizations owned by her close friend whom she has known for close to over forty years now. When I saw the news, I simply smiled and asked if this could have ever happened in any part of Africa? Everyday more institutions are being set up and legal instruments enacted. But as long as we don't focus and challenge our mindset on issues of enforcement and needless interference for them to work, then we surely have a long way to go.


Abdallah Issah
Ghana

Posted by ITY AFRICA

CORRUPTION: The Need To Strengthen Our Enforcement Agencies

Corruption in Malawi: The "Hot Chick" in Town!

Photo Credit: SABC News
It is unfortunate that corruption has become a serious problem among many countries in Africa. It's even worse that the corrupt practices are usually associated with the swindling of public resources by some state officials. What makes it unimaginable is that the resources being misused are the resources that are meant to benefit a greater community of those people who really need such resources for their daily survival.

In Malawi, corruption has gone way too far! So much so that the future of economic development in Malawi is just too hazy. Considering that Malawi was rated  the poorest country  in Africa by World Bank rankings (2015), shows we have a huge problem that seriously needs to be addressed otherwise it will be hard to call Malawi a developing country - rather it is an non-developing country. Statistics from Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index show that Malawi is rated 31%. This tells a huge story about how, out of all the activities that involve money, 69% are through corrupt practice. Building our argument on this premise, we can narrow it down to say out of all the government expenditures that are done, day in day out, 3 out of 10 activities are clean activities.  It is hard then to realize a change in some of the negative situations that are affecting the citizens of Malawi.

Looking at the bigger picture, one would conclude to say that some of the socioeconomic challenges that Malawi is facing are largely as a result of corruption. Recently there has been the famous “maize gate” where just a few individuals accumulated wealth over a situation that is already dire.  The people of Malawi stay hungry and instead of doing something to solve that undesirable situation, some people are coming in to take away that which the majority values a lot. 

I wonder whether the term “humanity” does exist in our societies today. Why all these cases of corruption? Will they ever come to an end really? Efforts have been put in place, yes and that can be seen through the election of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), another entity which is controversial in my view. Because you would not expect to kill a rat which has found its way to walk on the edges of your plasma. Even if it chooses to stay there longer, you would not dare to kill it. The only moment you can attempt to kill it its only when it has left your plasma. Similarly the ACB director is appointed by the reigning president and its hard for the ACB operations to work against such a reigning government! And so the existence of such bodies remains nonfunctional insofar as tackling corrupt practices, especially where members of the current ruling party are involved, is concerned. 

However, people should not give up this “tough fight”. There still is a need to work tirelessly towards reducing and eliminating this “hot chick” in town that is forcing many people into believing that corruption is part of life anyway. As young people, we need to aim higher and fight our way through to occupying decision making positions which will give us our most wanted opportunity to influence some of the decisions. This is something that will, in a way, condemn this animal for the majority’s sake.  Yes, in Malawi and many African countries, for one to be voted into power they need financial muscle to defeat the Big "Recycled Politicians". This should not be a draw back. Gone are the days when the youth could not say anything on the global or whatever platform of public significance. Now we know we have the voice and that we can speak against any objectionable act and so we must!


About The Author

Thokozani A. Chiwandira Chimasula
Malawi
Thokozani is an entrepreneur (farming) and also a corresponding youth activist from Malawi. Based on her experiences, growing up as a woman in Malawi, her activism is focused on Gender Equality, Social Inclusion and Youth Empowerment. 





The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of IGNITE THE YOUTH are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the entire society of IGNITE THE YOUTH.

Posted by ITY AFRICA

Corruption in Malawi: The "Hot Chick" in Town!