Over 1.5 million youth between the ages of 15 and 24 are classified as Neither Employed, Educated nor Trained (NEET), says the Annual Household Income and Expenditure Survey (AHIES) 2022 Third Quarter Labour Statistics report by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS).
The report’s findings were brought to light on the occasion of World Youth Skills Day – which was marked on July 15, 2023 and indicated that Greater Accra Region had the highest number of NEET youth, with about 312,394 individuals falling into this category. Following closely are the Ashanti Region – 300,161; Eastern Region – 131,341; and Central Region – 129,182.
The theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Skilling teachers, trainers and youth for a transformative future’, which underscores the importance of equipping young people with expertise to secure employment, pursue entrepreneurship and access decent jobs, its organiser said.
The AHIES report highlighted that in 13 out of the country’s 16 regions, more than 20 percent of young individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 were not engaged in education, employment or training. Eastern Region had the highest proportion of NEET youth at 30.0 percent, which is twice as much as Bono Region’s 14.5 percent – the region with the lowest proportion of disengaged youth.
Similarly, the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) also revealed significant disparities in educational opportunities; as 11.1 percent of youths aged 15 to 24, representing 1.4 million individuals, had never attended school.
Moreover, females were more affected – with 12.0 percent compared to 10.2 percent of males falling into this category.
The regional breakdown shows that Savannah has 43.4 percent, North East 36.8 percent, Northern 33.3 percent, Upper West 20.9 percent, and Oti 20.7 percent of young individuals who have never attended school. These five regions accounted for nearly half – 665,508 – of the total number of youths in this situation.
The census data also revealed a worrying unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24, at 32.8 percent. The unemployment rate was even higher for females at 36.7 percent compared to 29.3 percent for males. Among the 16 regions, 12 had an unemployment rate above 30 percent – with the Upper West Region leading at 39.0 percent, closely followed by Western North at 38.4 percent.
The data from these reports serve as a wake-up call for policymakers and stakeholders to address the urgent challenges faced by Ghanaian youths.
Finding effective solutions to decrease NEET rates and unemployment among the youth is crucial for the nation’s socio-economic development.