Academia and industry collaboration required to solve youth unemployment – Economist

Academia and industry collaboration required to solve youth unemployment - Economist

An economist & entrepreneur, Ebenezer Amankwah-Minkah, has charged Ghanaian youth to consider partnering with fellow young people with complementary skills, to create solutions for challenges facing their communities and businesses – as an alternative way of creating employment for themselves and their peers.

He made this call as a panellist at the maiden Youth Economic Forum on the theme Entrepreneurship, Technology and Innovation: Catalyst for Job Creation and Youth Employment.

The Youth Economic Forum, an initiative of the Mastercard Foundation and Business & Financial Times, was held on the second day of this year’s Ghana Economic Forum to provide an opportunity for young Ghanaians to contribute in national conversations on issues that impact them.

The Forum brought together young people from various backgrounds to connect, learn and share their opinions on issues related to entrepreneurship as a way to tackle unemployment, leveraging technology to drive innovation and business growth, and funding sources available to young entrepreneurs.

Sharing his thoughts, Mr. Amankwah-Minkah said young Ghanaians have both the passion and potential to become anchors of Ghana’s economic transformation with the right skills; but the current educational system needs to evolve to provide young people with in-demand skills to ensure they are better prepared for the world of work.

He said: “As an employer, the issue of youth unemployment in this country can be attributed to a mismatch between skills acquired in school and skills required in the labour market. This has resulted in many young people, particularly graduates, not having the relevant skills to make them employable and competitive in the workforce. This gap can be bridged when academic institutions and industry players partner to develop curricula and programmes that shape both the theoretical and practical skills of young people to thrive in a rapidly changing job market”.

Commenting further on solutions to the youth unemployment challenge in the country, Mr. Amankwah-Minkah noted: “Entrepreneurs and successful startups hold the key to creating new jobs for the teeming young graduates from our educational institutions. What’s critical is the enabling environment that will allow young people to access business development support and funding, and be enable to innovate and scale up their operations to employ other young people”.

He also encouraged young entrepreneurs to consider teaming up with their counterparts who have complementary skills to enable them create solutions that can support businesses. “For instance, if you come out of university with a degree in Accounting and cannot find a job, why not consider collaborating with a friend who has an IT background to develop an accounting software for businesses?” he concluded.

The Ghana Economic Forum (GEF) is the biggest private sector-led annual convening of stakeholders (private sector, government) to discuss solutions for economic challenges confronting the country, and to map out policy changes required to transform the business-operating environment in Ghana.

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