Accra – June 30, 2023 – The President of the Greater Accra Markets Association, Ms. Mercy Afrowa Needjan, has called on stakeholders to strengthen collaborations with the agricultural sector to revitalise Ghana’s markets, enhance competition in the local and international markets, and create sustainable jobs.

She was speaking at the 4th annual National Precision Quality (PQ) Conference organised by the Design & Technology Institute (DTI) under the auspices of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and the Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET) to highlight the critical role of Labour market information systems in stimulating job creation.

The conference was under the theme 'Utilizing LMIS to galvanise job creation and strengthen the collaboration among stakeholders and brought together representatives from the public and private sectors, youth organisations, and the media to deliberate on the importance of developing a robust LMIS that effectively addresses the employment needs of Ghanaians.

Ghana faces a persistent challenge of youth unemployment, with 56% of its population below the age of 25, according to the 2021 census. While the country's overall unemployment rate is 13.4%, the rate among youth aged 15 to 35 is notably higher at 19.7%.

Despite commendable efforts by successive governments, Ghana needs to work on effectively integrating its youth into the labour market, missing out on the potential benefits of its demographic dividend.

The 2022 Youth Compact for Ghana’s Political and Economic Transformation report highlights four key obstacles contributing to youth unemployment: a skills mismatch, inadequate school-to-work transition frameworks and career guidance, weak labour market information systems, and the neglect of youth not in education, employment, or training (NEET). Furthermore, a significant portion of the youth is concentrated in the informal sector.

The informal sector comprises of markets and is essential for regional and national development. They provide jobs for over a third of the employed population, with agriculture, forestry, and fishing accounting for 38.3% of employment, followed by wholesale and retail, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles at 21.3%, and manufacturing at 16.1%.

"Our markets are the lifeblood of the agricultural and informal sector and a major source of revenue for MMDAs and the economy at large," said Ms Needjan. "By revitalising the informal sector, which forms over 70 per cent of our national economy, we will enhance competition in the domestic and international markets and create job opportunities that drive economic growth."

She challenged the private sector to join hands with the markets and agricultural industry to establish processing hubs across the country where farm produce can be processed for domestic and international consumption to reduce post-harvest losses, create jobs, and generate income for stakeholders in the agric value chain. This would promote goods made in Ghana and enhance the economy.

She mentioned that partnership with DTI through the PQ training has enhanced the skills and practices of members of the market associations to improve the quality of their goods and services to generate more income.

“The PQ training has significantly impacted our members who participated. 19% of participants registered their businesses. 64% of MCPs began to keep proper records in the form of bookkeeping. Some members reported profits increased by 12% six months after the training. 33% opened a bank account, and 12% joined trade associations. Overall, 98% of MCPs found the training very useful and felt that it had helped their businesses,” she concluded.

The conference forms part of a three-year “Transforming youth TVET livelihoods for sustainable jobs’’ partnership between DTI and the Mastercard Foundation as part of the Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy in Ghana. The programme will provide 40,000 direct and indirect work opportunities for young people in the country using a multiplier approach.

Ms Constance Elizabeth Swaniker, the Founder and CEO of DTI, said, “DTI is a shining example of how public-private-academic partnerships can create jobs and improve skills in a developing country like Ghana. We have intentionally ensured key collaborations on the PQ agenda over the years. We can create a prosperous future for Ghanaians and Africa.”

"Our PQ approach has helped to create jobs and improve skills in Ghana by developing systems that address the training needs of people and industry," said Ms Swaniker. "We are excited to work with our stakeholders, including the government, to produce a world-class workforce by building a demand-driven, robust labour market and skills intelligence system that creates jobs and drives economic growth."

She added, “This year’s conference theme is significant considering Ghana's current economic challenges. By better understanding the labour market, we can identify where there are skills shortages and opportunities to create new jobs. This will help us develop policies and plan education and training to support job creation and economic growth."

DTI has initiated several activities with key stakeholders, including collaborating with Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) to enhance Ghana’s Labour Market Information Systems (LMIS). The collaboration will create a more robust and relevant information system that enables policymakers to understand labour market requirements, make informed decisions, and address youth unemployment.

The informal sector is the backbone of Ghana's economy, and we must ensure that it is included, empowered, and can participate meaningfully in any discussions about them. By taking these steps, we can unleash the untapped potential of the informal sector and create a brighter and more prosperous future for all Ghanaians.

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