The Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr John Kumah, has launched the first phase of the government’s flagship Youth Employment initiative, YouStart.
The launch of the first phase is under the District Entrepreneurship Programme of the YouStart, as well the opening of the Ghana Jobs and Skills Project that is meant to enable applications put themselves forth for selection.
He said that Ministry Officials had visited all 216 Metropolitan areas, Municipalities and Districts around the country to engage them on the launch of the YouStart Project.
He explained that with this launch, some 50,000 young people are expected to undergo entrepreneurial training that will lead to the creation of 1,000,000 jobs in the next three years.
Under the project, some participants will be provided with financial support totaling GH₵500 million to cover working capital requirements, business expansion and acquisition of equipment of some selected programme beneficiaries.
Dr Kumah was optimistic that “the use of an open and transparent application portal will ensure that the benefits of the YouStart will be available to all young people in Ghana.”
These beneficiaries will come from all over the country and will not be hindered by their backgrounds.
He stated further that there will be many phases of the YouStart project.
Already, 46 beneficiaries and eight groups have been through the pilot phase and have started running their own businesses.
The Deputy Minister said, “we cannot develop if we centralise opportunities in the capital.”
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, in her address, said the launch was a sign of the hard work government has put in to see the project come to reality.
She described the launch as the culmination of the efforts to create new millionaires and billionaires in the country.
The project, she stressed is evidence of the power of inter-agency collaboration, as various government branches such as the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Ministry of Youth and Sport, GEA, National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) had to come together to make yesterday’s event a reality.
Madam Yankey-Ayeh explained that in the first phase, 50,000 youth with the potential to start a business will be given entrepreneurship training, while a number of them will be supported with startup grant.
Eligible candidates, she explained will have to be youth between age 18 to 40, with a basic qualification of a BECE certificate, or school drop outs who have already started a business of their own.
The Director of Policy Planning at the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Mrs Gloria Borteley, stated that at the Ministry recognizes that talents, creativity, imagination, energy and sense of youth are central to the growth and transformation of Ghana.
The Ministry thus supports and associates itself with the YouStart project.
She assured the youth that government is putting measures in place to enable them have options for a good future.
“The government will continue to put the youth at the center of the national developmental agenda,” she concluded.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mustapha Ussif, described the launch as an important landmark in youth empowerment in the country.
He stated that government is convinced that youth empowerment is the panacea to economic development and is central to the nation’s developmental fortunes.
Due to this, the Minister said government has “an obligation to ensure that this valuable asset (the youth) is given the necessary opportunity to develop themselves.”
He intimated that young people must be at the forefront of the search for solutions to the nation’s problems as they represent the diversity of our reality, skill sets and talents, coupled with their unwavering resilience, vibrancy, innovation.
He revealed that the Youth and Sports Ministry will soon launch a new National Youth Policy that will harness the potential of the nation’s youth to enable them contribute to the development of the nation.
The World Bank Country Director, Pierre Laporte, urged the implementation agencies to be flexible and have a listening ear, as the YouStart project will be a potential solution to the unemployment problem which is projected to hit the country, with an estimated ten million Ghanaian youth will enter the job market between 2021 and 2040.
He noted that, “the youth are entering the labor market with increasing levels of education. Between 2005 and 2017, unemployment rates among young people increased from 11.1% to 12.6% despite the average education attainment among the youth rising from 8.5 to 9.6 years over the same period.
This is why, he said, the World Bank’s Country Partnership with Ghana from 2022 to 2026 emphasizes support for economic transformation with the creation of more quality jobs for the youth through skills and quality infrastructure.
The YouStart is a dedicated service offering aimed at easing constraints for existing and aspiring young entrepreneurs to create one million jobs in three years.
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