Skilled informal sector critical to COVID era recovery – Minister

skilled informal sector

Eastern Regional Minister Seth Kwame Acheampong, says Ghana’s ongoing COVID-19 era recovery efforts will only be successful with a skilled informal sector.

He, therefore, called for the implementation of sustainable policies and strategies which provide meaningful employment avenues for the teeming youth – describing them as a critical human resource with a global outlook that can be channelled for the national development agenda.

“They are the future leaders of this country, and it behoves us to empower them to be economically independent,” he stated when delivering a keynote address at the graduation and handing-over ceremony of startup-kits to beneficiaries of the Apprenticeship to Entrepreneurship (A2E) component under the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works Project held at Akim Oda in the Eastern Region.

“This is the only way we can grow our economy. Without this, we are going nowhere. So, as we take care of formal employment, we are looking to the informal sector as well to boost the economy. This is the only way the transformation agenda can be realised,” Mr. Acheampong further told the Business and Financial Times (B&FT) on the event’s sidelines.

In furtherance of the foregoing objective, he said government is implementing several initiatives and interventions to support young entrepreneurs gain access to capital, training and technical skills to enable them start, build and grow their own business.

Citing the yet-to-be-launched ‘YOUSTART’ programme, he said the programme will offer support in different forms to young people and students between the ages of 18 and 35 who have brilliant business ideas and viable businesses to nurture, grow and create jobs in the economy.

Apprenticeship to Entrepreneurship (A2E) project

Four Hundred and Thirty-Nine (439) from the over-1,333 who completed their apprenticeship training in the fields of hairdressing, dressmaking, baking and confectionery, welding among others were supported with startup-kits during the ceremony.

Touching on the project, the minister urged the graduates to start small and use the equipment provided them by GEA in partnership with Mastercard Foundation for its intended purpose.

“Do not wait for something big before you start your businesses. You have been given the necessary tools needed for you to start your business anywhere you find yourself. You must endeavour to attract the unemployed youth in your area by offering to train them as well,” he advised.

The partnership to create jobs

In 2020, the Ghana Enterprises Agency in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation launched the Young Africa Works Project to assist 39,000 young people gain access to dignified and fulfilling jobs by 2022.

GEA has led this initiative to date through three (3) key components: Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE); Apprenticeship to Entrepreneurship (A2E); and MSME Business Acceleration (MBA).

During the design of this Intervention, the GEA and Mastercard Foundation pledged to beneficiaries who diligently completed their apprenticeship training that they would be supported to start their own businesses with startup-kits.

This has led to the tooling of over 12,000 young men and women with various technical skills, supporting over 5,000 apprentices to write the NVTI Examinations and providing startup-kits to over 6,000 of these young graduate apprentices.

This initiative, the Chief Executive Officer of the GEA said during her speech, complements government’s efforts to create jobs and wealth.

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