Can Policy Engagement Create Youth Employment Opportunities?
Lessons Learned from the Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurial Development Initiative for Employment Project
According to the World Bank, Ghana’s youth population increased from 1.1 million in 1960 to 4.6 million in 2010. A major concern of successive governments in recent years has been to create adequate, decent and sustainable jobs for the growing youth population. Although the construction sector happens to be one of the fastest and consistently growing sub-sectors of the economy, with an impressive average growth of 8% per annum and a labor absorption rate of between 10 and 12% per annum, very little has been done to leverage this potential to create job opportunities for Ghana’s growing youth population.
While studies have cited multiple reasons for the limited youth participation in construction, available empirical and anecdotal evidence suggests that central to these explanations is a policy environment that does not provide the required support in terms of remuneration, working conditions and career progression to make the construction sector attractive to youth. In recognition of this fact, the Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurial Development Initiative for Employment (YIEDIE), a program designed to create economic opportunities for youth in the construction sector in five Ghanaian cities, implemented a number of interventions aimed at policy reform at both the national and city levels over the past four years.
This brief describes YIEDIE’s policy engagement avenues and strategies, the rationale for this set of interventions and the extent to which these interventions have created opportunities for young people within the construction sector.