The National Coordinator of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Business Coalition in Ghana, Raphael Godlove Ahenu, has observed that despite the significant progress being made in recent years with regard to poverty reduction, the socio-economic development in Ghana faces the challenges of insufficient social security and the unequal distribution of economic opportunities, income and wealth especially for the youth population.
According to him, unemployment is not the only issue confronting the youth of today but also low incomes from private enterprises for the population who are engaged in one business or the other. Mr Ahenu made the observations during an encounter with the media themed “WEA Business Coalition Breakfast with the Media” in Accra. It was an initiative by the WEA Business Coalition Ghana to interact periodically with the media and discuss issues confronting the business sector in Ghana.
He said the low incomes stemmed from a number of factors including lack of business skills on the part of the operators of micro, small and medium scale industries as well as limited access to innovative financing models that will enable them to establish properly and expand their businesses. The National Coordinator said in attempts to escape the effects of unemployment and its associated issues, the youth have resorted to several life-threatening alternatives to earn a living. Some of the youth he pointed out have resorted to illegal mining, cyber fraud, irregular migration and other illegal operations, which have resulted in the proliferation of social vices in the modern Ghanaian society.
Mr Ahenu noted that, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, youth employment has been recognized as one of the major challenges in recent times, of which Ghana is not an exception. He was with the view that, in the event of increasing unemployment rate in Ghana especially amongst the youth, it has become obvious that Government cannot absorb all skilled persons into formal employment. The way out therefore according to him, is to promote Youth Enterprise Development through Entrepreneurship, adding that access to entrepreneurship education and training is a key factor to youth enterprise development in Ghana. “Entrepreneurship education involves the use of structured learning environments and support tools and systems to help individuals develop entrepreneurial skills and become entrepreneurs. Any entrepreneurship programme that aims at developing the youth to become entrepreneurs in Ghana must necessarily focus more on the development of attitudes and skills than paper certification” Mr Ahenu stressed.
The National Coordinator further disclosed WEA Business Coalition in Ghana seeks to strengthen local churches through national alliances, supporting and coordinating grassroots leadership and seeking practical ways of showing the unity of the body of Christ by bringing Christian businesses together. He stated his outfit will by the end of the year organise the first Christian Business Conference to bring together Christian businesses and investors onto one platform.