Today, our economy faces challenge due to high energy costs and dumsor. Our task is to strengthen our economy and build a greater degree of security – in availability of jobs, in accessibility of health care, in portability of pensions, and in affordability of energy. That is an urgent task because economic freedom – and the prosperity it makes possible – are not ends in themselves. They are means by which families and individuals can maintain their independence from government, raise their children by their own values, and build communities of self-reliant neighbours.
For too many Ghanaians, the political freedom achieved in 1957 has not been matched with economic freedom. The fact that two out of every four Ghanaians does not have a job is the clearest and most devastating expression of this lack of economic freedom. The unemployed are unfree. And so we need to prioritise jobs as a passport to freedom.
Unemployment fuels poverty and inequality. Currently, more than four out of every ten Ghanaians live below the poverty line. Ours remains one of the most unequal societies in the world. Our unemployment rate is 48.8% under the “narrow” definition of those actively looking for work, and 56% under the “expanded” definition that includes discouraged jobseekers. This is extremely high by international standards.
Youth are the worst affected. The unemployment rate among youth between the ages of 18 and 30 at 63%. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2014 Global Risks report, Ghana has one of the highest unemployment rates for youth between the ages of 15 and 24.
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