The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has said that despite government’s creation of thousands of jobs through various initiatives in the past four years, creating more opportunities for the youth remains a top priority of the Akufo-Addo government.
Speaking at the launch of University of Ghana Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programme (UGIEP) at the University’s campus on Friday, the Vice President said majority of Ghana’s population (about 52%) is made up of the youth, and with a growing number of young people joining the job market in search of jobs every year, government cannot relent in its efforts at creating jobs and enabling environment for more entrepreneurial opportunities for the youth, especially in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Some 250,000 young people enter the job market every year, putting pressure on the limited employment opportunities. Getting this population employed remains our major socio-economic challenge. We need to create new jobs or help provide access to existing job vacancies,” Dr. Bawumia noted.
“The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the realities exposed, show us that creating gainful employment for young people now more than ever is crucial to our development.”
The UGIEP is a non academic programme, under the auspices of the Vice Chancellor’s Office, which seeks to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in the University of Ghana by developing knowledge and capabilities necessary to create and grow products and services that add social and economic value to society.
The Vice President commended University of Ghana for the initiative, adding that the UGIEP should collaborate with government’s employment and youth development agencies to create more opportunities for the youth.
“At the heart of the UGEIP is empowerment, leverage and value creation. These objectives are in line with our government’s strategic focus for the economy and human capital development within this COVID-19 era,” Dr. Bawumia said.
“It is the expectation of government that the UGIEP, being launched today, will work with existing initiatives like the National Youth Authority, Youth Employment Authority, Youth Enterprises Fund, National Entrepreneurship and Innovative Programme, Ghana Enterprises Agency and others, to help our young people create sustainable jobs opportunities.”
“Government’s strategic anchors of Human Capital Development, Entrepreneurship, Skills development, and education will also provide a platform for this and similar programs to be scaled up leveraging on our digitalization agenda.”
Stressing on the importance of digitization in entrepreneurship, Dr. Bawumia said entrepreneurship will not thrive in an environment with difficulties in doing business, hence the government’s
digitization drive to eliminate all bottlenecks in doing business as fast as possible.
“The use of National Identification Card as a unique identifier, the digitization of the processes at the Registrar General Department and the passage of Act 992, give specific focus to business as part of the institutional innovation to grow and support entrepreneurship.”
“Our pledge as a government is to continue to create the right environment to allow the initiatives and companies started through this program to thrive. In so doing I am optimistic that this program will unearth innovations and support and grow companies.”