Written By Dr. Kofi Amponsah-Bediako - One great challenge facing the world today is unemployment, particularly among the youth. According to the United Nations, most comprehensive global campaign, Decent Jobs for Youth Initiative, Africa’s unemployment statistics for the youth stands at about 12 million. In Europe and Central Asia also, about eight million youth are also unemployed. In Ghana, not less than one hundred thousand graduates come out of tertiary institutions every year for jobs, a crucial challenge that faces us as a nation. If unemployment, as a threat to national security, has been with us for years then we need to sit up as a people and be positively committed to addressing the issue, seeing that it has worsened in the recent past.
Communal violence, needless social tension and insecurity, dishonest lifestyles and armed robbery, among others, are all symptoms of the dreadful challenge of unemployment. The country needs to put itself in a strategic position for short and long-term approaches aimed at addressing the challenge of unemployment. This problem can be overcome if appropriate steps are adopted now to confront the issue. The recent launch in Kumasi of the Nation Builders Corps programme by President Akufo-Addo is meant to provide temporary employment for graduates who come out of tertiary institutions. The programme will serve as a breather for a three-year period to prepare beneficiaries with more practical skills, relevant competence and the necessary copious experience needed for permanent engagement in the world of work. Without thinking outside the box, we will not be able to deal with the issues relating to unemployment.
The launch of the National Builders Corps is an innovative approach that will prepare our unemployed graduates for better opportunities ahead. The numerous economic programmes being undertaken by government to transform the country towards rapid socio-economic development are not result-bound today but in the near future. Indeed, all meaningful economic transformation programmes bring in results in the long-term. This shows that we need a stop-gap measure like the nation builders corps to prepare young graduates for their future world of work. The country’s total economic transformational agenda calls for pragmatic policies and programmes carried out in a well-focused and consistent manner for the attainment of national development objectives. This explains why consistency in the implementation of national economic programmes should be seen as a preferred alternative to mere confrontation and criticism aimed at distorting what the true facts are. The time has come for every citizen to contribute his or her portion to the country’s development in the form of patriotic support, but not destructive criticisms and needless unwarranted attacks, likely to turn the clock of progress backward rather than moving it forward.
In Ghana’s democratic dispensation which has become the envy of many countries, criticisms are welcome but this must be carried out in a helpful and constructive manner. The Nation Builders Corps is an employment programme that has come to save a certain situation at this point in our national life while working towards a smooth, rapid long-term growth of the economy, to ensure expansion in business opportunities and bring about improvement in the general economic welfare of all Ghanaians. It is a programme that needs the support of everyone to make it workable for our unemployed graduates.
By Dr. Kofi Amponsah-Bediako, Director of Corporate Communications, Ghana Standards Authority.