PProfessor William Baah-Boateng, the Head of Economics Department at the University of Ghana, says the government's programme of supporting many young entrepreneurs to establish businesses would not lead to quality employment.
Prof. Baah-Boateng said instead of the government giving huge sums of money to start-ups, it would be better to identify a few 'big entrepreneurs' with higher growth potentials and sponsor them to grow so as to employ huge chunk of the increasing unemployed labour force.
He was speaking at the third edition of Mastercard Foundation Research seminar, on the theme: "Supporting Young People's Livelihoods: Exploring Post-Secondary School Opportunities" organised by the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) and Mastercard Foundation.
He cited United States, where big entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, had expanded their businesses to enable them employ more labour.
Prof. Baah-Boateng said although he was in support for the government's entrepreneurship agenda, it was critical to redirect the available resources to very few and keen businesses towards their expansion to absorb huge numbers of unemployed youth.
He said although the country's economy had been growing quiet fast over the years, the quality of growth and its source needed to be looked at to ensure it was coming from sectors that had the potential to absorb most of the unemployed.
He noted that the growth of the country's economy had been skewed to the extractives sector, which is capital intensive and did not employ majority of the unemployed hence the need to develop other sectors such as agriculture.
There was also the need to boost technical and vocational education because of the potential to employ many young people.
The Head of Department said as government pursued the Free Senior Secondary Education policy, which he described as a very important programme, it was significant to ensure that the labour market would be ready to absorb them.
He said it was necessary because most young people in recent times frowned on working in the informal sector after attaining formal education and therefore the need to ensure the provision of education that would meet the industrial needs of the nation.
He said there was the need to put more emphasis on Science, Technical, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as there was currently an oversupply of skills in arts, social science and business.
Prof. Baah-Boateng said to minimise the unemployment situation in the country, government must not be in a rush to introduce interventions that replicate activities of the other existing state institutions.
He said there must be a proper diagnosis and understanding of the problem to enable the formulation and implementation of well thought out schemes, adding that there was the need for quality education, training and skills development.
He urged young people seeking for employment to moderate their expectation and tone down their expectation in the labour market.
The seminar was attended by representatives from industry, academia, Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, youth, employers, National Board for Small Scale Industries, Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service, and civil society groups, among others.