Youth Empowerment as a Pathway towards Attaining the Demographic Dividend in Sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from Ghana
Keywords:Ghana, demographic dividend, youth empowerment, policy, capacity-building
While empowerment of the youth in Ghana could enable them to make a more meaningful contribution to the economy, a myriad of challenges faces the youth during their transition from school into the employment sector and limits the realisation of their full potential. As a result, the recent and significant increase in the size of the youth population in Ghana cannot justifiably be romanticised as an obvious stepping stone towards the realisation of a demographic dividend. In this study, qualitative and quantitative research methods were deployed to carry out a cross-sectional survey that enabled a detailed exploration of the main challenges and opportunities facing the youth in Ghana. Some of the options for enabling greater youth empowerment in the country were also identified. The study established that unemployment, skills limitations, lack of access to finance, and poorly coordinated institutional structures for implementing youth empowerment policies and programmes are major barriers to youth empowerment in Ghana. We conclude that there is a need for more targeted interventions that address these challenges and leverage any evident opportunities available for increased youth empowerment before Ghana can confidently expect to reap a demographic dividend.
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