Ghana: CSOs Laud Government Youstart Programme

Civil Society Organisations have lauded the government for its yet to be launched YouStart programme expected to address the unemployment situation in Ghana.

Addressing the media after a sensitisation workshop for Civil Society Organisations on the YouStart Programme held in Accra yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs, Mr Sherif Ghali, said the YouStart programme was timely and was needed at a time when the nation’s unemployment numbers were seeing an increase after several interventions by Governments.

“Government must be commended for deciding to embark on this bold initiative. Investing GHC10 million in entrepreneurship for the next three years is huge and good news for the numerous Ghanaian youth looking for sustainable jobs. The unemployment numbers can only be reduced when the private sector is supported to expand and create job. The YouStart programme per the design and structure we have seen will have a huge impact on the Ghanaian youth and we are looking forward to it being launched by the President,” he said.

Mr Sherif Ghali was, however, quick to add that the government must be transparent on how it manages the programme and must not allow it to become another political tool to favour a few people.

“This is one of the few times that before the launch of a major flagship programme like this Government has seen the need to take feedback from the civil society groups. It signals to us that this time round the government intends to do things properly which is a step in the right direction. However, we want government to be transparent on how the programme is run, we need to know and identify all the beneficiaries of the YouStart programme. Unemployment in this country is a serious issue and programmes like this that will create jobs for the youth must be accessible to all and transparent” he added.

The sensitisation workshop was addressed by the Deputy Minister of Finance and MP for Ejisu, Dr John Ampontuah Kumah, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, MrKofi Ofosu Nkansah, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Enterprises Agency, President of the Ghana Association of Bankers, Mr John Awuah, and officials from the YouStart secretariat.

Civil Society Organisations present at the sensitisation workshop were Star Ghana, SENDGhana, Ghana Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs, Centre for Community Livelihood Development, Network of Empowered Youth for Development, Ghana Federation of Disabality, African Centre for Economic Transformation, Centre for Active Learning and Integrated Development, OXFAM and Institute for Democratic Governance.

YouStart is being funded by the Electronic Transfer Levy. The programme is expected to be launched by the President in the coming weeks.

YOUSTART is a programme that seeks to support young entrepreneurs to gain access to capital, training and technical skills that will enable them start, build and grow their own businesses. This initiative targets young people and students between the ages of 18-35 years who have brilliant business ideas and viable businesses, and supports these individuals to nurture, grow and expand their businesses and job creation in the economy.

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