Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has stated that a well-harnessed entrepreneurship model is a vital driver of a country’s socio-economic growth.
He said entrepreneurship resulted in the creation of new businesses, which were essential for the development of vital and vibrant small and medium enterprises.
“There is a growing recognition among governments and international organisations that youth entrepreneurship is a relevant strategic tool to address the unemployment challenges,” he added.
The Vice President said this in Accra at the launch of the Student Entrepreneurship Initiative (SEI) on the theme: “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Solution to Ghana’s Graduate Unemployment.”
He said the most competitive sector in developing countries such as Ghana was the small and medium business sector, adding that new businesses were created by entrepreneurs to generate high-value employment and innovation.
Vice President Bawumia stressed that it was imperative to consider and take advantage of the emergent entrepreneurship landscape in the country.
“Industry growth has been slow and often limited to old technology manufacturing without much value added to the raw materials. The result is that we have an economy that is dependent on raw materials. We need to work on value addition of our products to open doors for job opportunities”.
He stated that the African youth population was growing rapidly and getting better educated and it was estimated that by 2030, 137 million people between the ages of 20 and 24 years would acquire secondary education, while 12 million of the same age group would receive tertiary education.
A report by the International Labour Organisation (LIO) in 2013, revealed that the youth unemployment rate kept increasing, leading to negative long socio-economic impact which could affect generations.
The World Bank expressed concern about the rising rate of unemployment especially with the growth in population.
In Africa, it is expected that by 2050, Africa will be the largest continent in terms of high population.
The UN conference on trade and development observed that there was an urgency now in the development and promotion of the entrepreneurship among the youth if the country was to cope with the joblessness in merging demographics.
The Vice President said one stimulating thing about young entrepreneurs was the activeness and the ability to explore high growth sectors that relied on technological innovations in addressing old problems.
He said that the government launched the National Entrepreneurship and Innovative Plan (NIIP), a policy initiative implemented by the Ministry of Business Development, to provide integrated national support for early-stage start-ups and small businesses.
The programme was expected to provide financial support for 3,000 young entrepreneurs with game-changing business ideas to solve problems.
The Presidential page was also launched in 2018 to promote entrepreneurial spirit among the youth between the ages of 18 to 24 towards job creations.
Dr Ibrahim Awal, the Minister of Business Development, said the SEI was a government policy aimed at sending entrepreneurship education to students and when students were exposed to business concepts and plans at the early stages, there was a tendency for them to think entrepreneurial and begin to develop products and services while in school.
Mr Awal said in 2018, the Ministry introduced SEI to the Senior High Schools and thought it prudent to extend the programme to the tertiary institutions across the country to build the entrepreneurial capacity of students in higher education.
The Minister said the programme would entail the formation of entrepreneurial clubs in tertiary institutions, the introduction of entrepreneurship manuals to the Universities and training of SEI Coordinators in the Universities and the organisation of competitions.
“We are committed to creating a sustainable and most business-friendly and enabling environment, that fosters private sector-led investment for job creation and livelihood,” he added.