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Youth unemployment next pandemic in Africa – UN Peace Ambassador

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Dr. Samuel Ben Owusu

UN Peace Ambassador and Country Director for International Association of World Peace Advocates Ghana, Dr Samuel Ben Owusu, has cautioned African leaders to tackle youth unemployment as it could be the next pandemic if care is not taken.

Speaking at a press conference organised to outline some critical issues discussed at the 76th UN Peace Conference, he said following the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment has risen in Africa and Ghana.

He noted that despite efforts by the Ghanaian government to tackle the situation, a large number of the youth remains unemployed, which poses a security threat to the nation.

He suggested that new and drastic measures must be adopted to address the situation.

“If there could be a system where Ghanaians can work on night duties as it is done in many developed countries, it will create more job opportunities for the youth,” he suggested.

Meanwhile, the government has announced the introduction of YouStart to help create jobs for the youth.

YouStart is an initiative to help young people start and grow small businesses.

The initiative is looking to create one million jobs with a seed capital of GHS1billion and would take effect from March 2022 as announced by Mr Ofori-Atta in the 2022 budget.

The initiative will be implemented by the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), and partner financial institutions.

Interested persons will register online while the NEIP engages faith-based organisations as partners for the delivery of essential artisanal skills, business competitions, and feasibility studies and introduction to financing institutions with a commitment of up to 10% of GoG contribution to the programme.

YouStart will provide the youth with:

i. Training: Skills Development, Entrepreneurial Support, and Business Advisory services;

ii. Funding: Access to Competitive Credit and Starter Packs;

iii. Enterprise Promotion: Mentoring and Access to Markets, including Portals to facilitate “digital linkages” between youth-led enterprises and other businesses and relevant Government agencies.

Young people under the programme will benefit from district level loans under GHS10,000 after 2-3 months of training and soft loans of up to GHS50,000 to help start-ups (in particular by young graduates from and school-leavers) and small businesses to expand.

Starter packs with get soft loans tied to equipment acquisition of up to GHS50,000 for individuals and GHS100,000 for associations/groups.

SMEs will get a standardised loan package of between GHS100,000 to GHS400,000 at concessional rates.

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