No country has zero unemployment rate – Ablakwa
The Deputy Education Minister in charge of Tertiary Education says the issue of youth unemployment in Ghana is not peculiar to the country.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said countries in Europe and America which serve as greener pastures for their African counterparts are themselves battling with their own unemployment issue.
According to him, the political developments sweeping across the world sends the signal that rather than traveling to foreign countries, citizens must be committed to improving the conditions in their own country.
He cited the recent referendum in Britain in which the citizens voted to cede from the European Union (EU) and the surprising victory of Republican’s Donald Trump in the United States to stress his point.
“Donald Trump is promising to build a wall and not bridge for individuals who want to travel to the US,” he said.
Mr Ablakwa made these remarks when he addressed students, lecturers and faculty heads at the University of Ghana during a special Joy FM’s Ghana Connect programme Wednesday.
The programme delved into findings of a research conducted by Financial Accountability and Transparency – Africa (FAT-Africa).
FAT-Africa Programmes Manager, Dr Francis Darko said over 1,163 citizens partook in the research with a majority of them saying they would vote for a presidential candidate whose manifesto could address the youth unemployment in the country.
Out of the 16 issues presented to the respondents, he said, issues of unemployment ranked first followed by “Good, quality, and Purposeful education.”
The other issues that came up include, Accelerated Economic Growth, Accelerated Agricultural Growth, Human development/pro-poor, inclusive and equal opportunity for all, (9) Rapid industrialization, Quality public infrastructure, Financial Accountability and Corruption, and Transparency in Governance.
Some of the students who were in attendance expressed fear about the growing unemployment status of Ghana’s youth.
A Teaching Assistant of the Political Science Department said he has decided to return to school because he does not want to join the bandwagon of unemployed graduates in the country.
A female final year student who gave her name as Philomena said she had resolved to travel out of Ghana when she graduates in 2017.
“I am scared because none of the manifestoes proposed by the political parties gives me hope,” she said.
A student journalist with Radio Universe said the various manifestoes of the political parties are nothing extraordinary because anybody at all can design one.
“What counts are the determination, preparedness, and commitment of the candidates to deliver on their promises,” he said.
He said both the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP) have proven unreliable because they failed to fulfill promises they made to Ghanaians.
But Mr Ablakwa said despite the significant progress made in the country Ghanaians are not seeing it because they remain continue to remain pessimistic.
"Let us begin to believe in our ability. Ghana is not a basket case. It is making progress and it is rising," he said, adding, Ghanaians adopt a different attitude when they travel outside which sees them work two to three jobs but this is not the case when they are here in Ghana.
He said the many infrastructural projects undertaken by the government across the country created over 400,000 jobs within three and a half years.
"The Kwame Nkrumah Interchange created over 1,000 jobs," he said, adding the most proven way to create jobs in the country is to construct infrastructure which would bring on board several workers.
We cannot adopt the mindset of mistrust for our leaders and expect things to improve, he said. "If you take this attitude to any other country you will not make it."