Feature: Global Unemployment-What Ghana can learn from global perspectives

EmploymentGlobally, job challenges are huge and open unemployment is only one of them. Jobs are at the center stage across the globe-in developing and developed countries alike.

200 million people, a disproportionate share of them youth, are unemployed and actively looking for work. An estimated 620 million youth, majority of them women, are neither working nor looking for work.

Just to keep employment rates constant; around 600 million new jobs will have to be creaed over a 15 year period. 1.6 billion people are working for a wage or salary, 1.5 billion people are working in farming or self-employment, there are 10 million entrants to the labor force per year in Sub-Saharan Africa [surprised?].

There is 10 times employment growth in a firm in the United States over 35 years, 21 million people are victims of forced labour, 115 million children working in hazardous conditions and about 90 million people working abroad.

It’s no surprise then, that jobs are atop the development agenda everywhere-for everyone from policy makers to the populace, from business leaders to union representatives, from activists to academics. Everyone looking to seize opportunities for job creation presented by massive demographic shifts, technological innovations, global migration of people and tasks and deep changes in the nature of work.

Jobs drive development, they are not just a by-product of economic growth. Jobs even informal jobs can be transformational. It is not only the number of jobs created or exist that matters, fact is some do more for development than others. And as such can be transformational probably or as is, along three dimensions- Improvement in Living Standards, Productivity and Social Cohesion.

So what jobs must be created: Jobs connected to global markets, Jobs that are environmentally benign, Jobs that give a sense of fairness, Jobs that link to networks, Jobs that shape social identity, Jobs for the poor, Jobs that empower women and Jobs that do not shift burden to others A few questions must be asked of policy makers, academia etc: Should countries build their development strategies around growth or should they rather focus on jobs? Can entrepreneurship be fostered, especially among the many microenterprises in developing countries, or are entrepreneurs born?

While jobs can contribute to social cohesion,is there anything governments can do about it, apart from trying to support job creation? Are greater investments in education and training a prerequisite for employability, or can skills be built through jobs? Should efforts to improve the investment climate target the areas, activities, or firms with greater potential for job creation?

What is the risk that policies to foster job creation in one country will come at the expense of jobs in other countries? When confronted with large shocks and major restructuring,is it advisable to protect jobs and not just people? . Source: World Development Report 2013 on Jobs.


John Armah
Executive Director
Ghana Centre for Entrepreneurship, Employment and Innovation (GCEEI)
Email: johnarmah59@yahoo.com

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