Ghana’s millennial generation wants a change to the status quo, and with 57 percent of the country’s population under the age of 25, it is time for leaders to take note. The new government hopes that strengthening the agriculture sector will help to create jobs and combat youth unemployment. However, the government may have to convince young Ghanaians that focusing on agriculture is the right solution, according to a national survey sponsored by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). The country’s economic landscape is changing, and with increasing connectivity and the rise of Accra as a regional hub, young people will not be content with their parents’ agricultural jobs. Instead, they want stable work that benefits from the promises of a transitioning economy.
In Ghana, the disconnect between opportunities presented by the government and the type of jobs that young people want poses a major obstacle to democracy and economic development. Education holds the promise of access to better jobs, and the government will be under pressure to deliver these jobs as more of the country’s youth reach working age. What constitutes a quality job for young Ghanaians? For now, the answer does not seem to lie in agricultural jobs. In order to respond to the needs of Ghanaian millennials and support economic growth and transition, it is an increasingly important question to ask.
Since taking office in early 2017, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has launched five policy initiatives to support agriculture, education access, and job creation, and foster a business-friendly environment. Following Akufo-Addo’s election victory in December of 2016, CIPE and the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Ghana conducted a national survey of Ghanaians’ top policy priorities. VOTO Mobile administered the survey via cell phone in March 2017 to 1,641 people across Ghana’s 10 regions. The survey results, as interpreted by CIPE, indicate national support for reducing barriers to education, and a shift away from agriculture among younger Ghanaians.