Rising unemployment rates among young individuals in the country and Africa at large result from a lack of financial support for youth startup businesses, Chief Executive Officer-Ghana Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs, Sheriff Ghalil, has said.
He lamented that perceptions of young people being high-risk partners who cannot be trusted are among the challenges impeding businesses run by young people.
He said this during a zoom discussion organised by the Policy Initiative for Economic Development Africa under the theme ‘The current economic difficulties and their impact on wellbeing of the youth’, and emphasised the need to rethink how to render assistance to the youth, especially considering the economic challenges caused partly by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He pointed out that the World Bank’s recent report on youth unemployment highlights the alarming situation in Africa – wherein companies are facing reduced support from their respective countries, leading to layoffs and decreased employment opportunities. Consequently, it said many young people are opting to become entrepreneurs as the only option for sustainable income.
Ghalil noted that over the past three years there has been a notable increase in young people venturing into the business arena, either out of necessity or choice. However, he raised concerns about the inadequate support for these ventures – particularly the lack of political will and poor implementation of government-backed initiatives.
The CEO also emphasised the importance of education and training for young entrepreneurs, as many lack the necessary experience and technical know-how to run successful businesses. He called on stakeholders to organise workshops to equip young entrepreneurs with the skills, understanding and risk-management knowledge required for business operations, which in turn will create employment opportunities for others.
Furthermore, Ghalil urged policymakers to design and implement supportive policies; thus making it easier for young people to access regulatory guidelines, registration processes and business support services. By doing so, they can foster an environment that encourages and facilitates the growth of youth-led businesses, ultimately addressing the issue of unemployment in the region.