Editorial: High unemployment among the youth is indeed a time bomb
Findings of a study conducted by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has confirmed the widely held believe that high level of unemployment among the youth of Ghana is a waiting time bomb.
The study revealed that unemployment is a major risk factor that might plunge the country into violent extremism. The study, “Risk/threat analysis of violent extremism in ten border regions of Ghana”, which was launched by the NCCE in Accra on Tuesday, indicated that unemployed youth are more likely to join violent extremist groups than supporters of political parties and religious leaders.
Insecurity, especially in the West Africa sub-region, is a major issue that must attract the attention of all peace loving people. Just this week, there were media reports from Burkina Faso that the Al Qaeda affiliate fighting the Malian government in the northern part of the country had crossed into the Sahelian country to kill over 400 people in a market.
It is instructive to note that people who, in most of the cases, carry out these atrocities are the youth who have been indoctrinated by the fanatics. Because most of the youth are unemployed and do not have any permanent source of income, they become easy prey to these extremist groups. The latter is able to woo them after dangling a few US bucks before them. Also, because a hungry man is an angry man, as the adage goes, the youth also grab the opportunity and accept to take up arms to kill their own people.
This is the reason why all governments in the sub-region are doing everything possible to provide employment for their teeming youth, to prevent them from being used to destabilise their countries.
In Ghana, both the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), who have ruled this country since 1992, claim to have provided jobs for our jobless youth. Indeed, if the figures these two political parties are quoting is anything to rely on then one should not be talking about youth unemployment in the country.
But readers will agree with us that there thousands of university graduates who are roaming our streets without jobs. Those who do not have the paper qualification have also resorted to armed robbery and other social vices. This clearly shows that we have a serious problem on hand because these unemployed youth can easily be convinced or used to destabilize the state by opponents who do not want the forward match of this country. The National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) is seen as a major programme initiated in 2006 by the administration of President J.A. Kufuor to deal with unemployment among the youth. The Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) programme was also introduced in April 2018 as a government initiative to address graduate unemployment to solve social problems.
It is unfortunate that these policies have not yielded sufficient employment opportunities and the formal sector is unable to engage all the young people who enter the labour market annually.
It is upon the basis of this that we think the NCCE has hit the nail right on the head. We, as a state, must start devising new strategies to create more employment for the youth. In our view, we should not be looking at the government alone to shoulder this huge responsibility. There are many Ghanaians who have the financial wherewithal, but instead of investing in the country, they have rather done so abroad. Such attitude, we must all admit, will not help in solving the youth unemployment. These wealthy Ghanaians must bear in mind that if the unemployed youth decide to engage in social vices like armed robbery, they will be at the receiving end of it.
It is, therefore, our fervent hope that Ghanaian investors will change their stance and rather channel the resources they have towards the building of this country. This is not the time to be looking up to the government of the day to do it alone, if we all believe that the private sector is the engine of growth of the economy.