By Eugene Davis
An initiative under government’s one district, one factory (1D1F) industrialization drive, expected to create over 3,000 direct and 16,000 indirect jobs meant to assist, young graduates to develop and sustain their own agricultural sector businesses has been launched in Accra by the Trade Minister, Alan Kyerematen.
Under the 1D1F Enable Youth Initiative, the youth will be provided with financial and technical assistance to administer agro-processing companies, which will operate under the Rural Enterprises Programme (REP).
Speaking at the official launch of the initiative in Accra on Friday (23 December), Mr. Alan Kyerematen said the initiative will create 3,000 direct and 16,000 indirect jobs across the country.
“This particular initiative will contribute to employing almost 3,000 youth directly, but in addition to that it is also going to contribute indirectly to creating over 16,000 jobs in the various districts and municipalities.
“And it is important that as a government we create modules that provide sustainable jobs to the youth of this country,” Kyerematen said.
The minister added “You are not being left alone, but you are being linked to a facility, an institutional support ecosystem that will allow you to be able to take advantage on a continuous basis in terms of management and linking you to access to finance, so everything has been carefully designed”
Further he stated that if government is able to replicate this effort throughout the country and enhance the delivery of what is being done by providing funding to support the modules activities, the country’s agriculture will change, pointing out it is not only about agriculture because agriculture without industrialization is not sustainable.
“The industrialization component of this programme is going to further enhance and deepen agricultural production and productivity and that is very important for the industrial transformation for our country.
It is going to bring our youth to support our macro-economic stabilization efforts, if we are able to replicate what we are doing with our 58 youth owned and youth managed companies, it means that we will be able to reduce the amount of foreign exchange that we are currently spending on importing almost virtually everything that we can produce, but at the same time we are also going to enhance our capacity to be able to export more to earn foreign exchange which is the only way we can stabilize the local currency.
This initiative will bring our youth to the business resource centres, 67 of them and almost 190 business advisory centres throughout the country and various districts which is under the management of GEA”
The government has rolled out the One District One Factory (1D1F) Enable Youth Initiative aimed at enhancing the agriculture value chain and reducing graduate unemployment and poverty in Ghana.
The programme seeks to build the entrepreneurial capacity of graduate youth in order to develop business opportunities in employable, high-growth agricultural sectors of the Ghanaian economy.
It also seeks to build human capital and provide technical, infrastructure, to young entrepreneurs and improve the technical and managerial skills of these entrepreneurs to enable them to establish and grow sustainable agribusinesses.
The initiative is funded by the government of Ghana, African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Young graduates who have successfully completed the application process will be supported with business advisory centres and services set up across Ghana and provided with interest-free loans to operate the companies.
The companies would be engaged in the production and processing of agricultural products such as fish, cassava, cashew, rice, oil palm, mushroom, pineapple, groundnut, soya beans and cocoa husk.
According to the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), over 1.7 million (13.4 per cent) of Ghana’s 13-million working population were unemployed as of the first quarter of 2022.
The Country Director and representative of the IFAD in Ghana, Hani Abdelkader Elsadani, said the institution’s decision to partner the government to roll out the initiative was because of the cooperation it had with the Government of Ghana dating back to 1970.
Mr Elsadani said IFAD was committed to supporting projects that would enable rural poor people to have sustainable livelihoods.
The Country Manager, AFDB expressed his excitement about the initiative and was hopeful his outfit will continue to support the initiative to reach the intended objectives.
For his part, the Director of Rural Enterprises Programme, Kwesi Attah-Antwi, said the Enable Youth Initiative would be a game changer in terms of youth unemployment.
He called on all stakeholders, especially at the district levels, to support the programme to succeed.
It forms part of the 10-point Industrialization Agenda of Ministry of Trade and Industry, targeted at post-secondary graduates, Ghanaian, youth (24-35 years).
It is aimed at reducing graduate unemployment and poverty.