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Magnitude and Impact of Youth Unemployment in Ghana

Michael Poku-Boansi, Sam Afrane


Youth unemployment in Africa today is of critical concern. Youths (ages 15-24) in the region constituted 36.9 percent of the total working age population over the period 1995-2005. Unemployed youths are forced to find alternatives to generate income, including survival-type activities in the informal sector and criminal activity in extreme cases. Urban youth unemployment is exacerbated by rural-urban migration. The article examines how the unemployment situation in Ghana is affecting the youth. Specifically, it looks at the magnitude of the unemployment problem facing the youth in the country and the impact of youth unemployment on the economy. A case study approach within the context of descriptive analysis was adopted. The methods of analysis include reviews of existing data sources and descriptive analysis of findings contained in the censuses of 1960 through to 2000 as well as validation exercise using information provided by the Ghana Living Standards Survey. The study recommends that the self-employment and entrepreneurship development section of the Ministry of Education be strengthened to give meaningful institutional backing to programs aimed at enhancing the employment potentials of the youth.


magnitude; youth; unemployment; labor; economy; entrepreneurship

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West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, and Olufemi Taiwo.

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