The Mastercard Foundation has announced a five-year, $200 million initiative to address youth unemployment in Ghana.
With the goal of helping three million young people secure meaningful employment by 2030, the Young Africa Works in Ghana initiative will support efforts to build a digitally literate community of educators and changemakers and a network of entrepreneurs who can create job opportunities in the West African country. To that end, the initiative will focus on sectors such as agriculture, tourism, and hospitality that offer strong job creation potential and will support the growth of women-owned enterprises; strengthen education initiatives and equip young people with in-demand skills; and scale digital training and technology-focused employment opportunities.
Co-designed in partnership with diverse stakeholders and young people, the initiative is aligned with the Ghanaian government's Agenda for Jobs: Creating Prosperity and Equal Opportunity for All program as well as its efforts to position the country as an entrepreneurship and technology hub. According to the foundation, young people between the ages of 15 and 34 account for 35 percent of the country's population and face under- and unemployment rates of 42 percent and 12 percent. At the same time, Ghana boasts a vibrant culture of entrepreneurship and ranks first globally in terms of the share of enterprises owned by women (46 percent).
"We have listened to the aspirations of young people in Ghana and they are creative, resilient, and determined to contribute to the economic and social well-being of their country," said Mastercard Foundation president and CEO Reeta Roy. "Young Africa Works builds upon the country's economic agenda and momentum to drive transformative change that will lead to improved livelihoods and prosperity."