The European Union (EU), and Christian Aid, a UK based non-governmental organisation, has launched a €946,000 project dubbed Growing Economic Opportunities for Sustainable Development (GEOP), at a ceremony in Accra.
GEOP seeks to foster strong civil society and local authority partnership to promote local job creation, revenue mobilisation and expansion of economic activities in an environmentally friendly manner.
The programme, which spans February 2017 to the end of 2019, is being rolled out in the Ellembelle District in the Western Region, Ayawaso East and Abelekumah South sub-Metros in the Greater Accra Region.
The EU is providing €700,000 funding while the Christian Aid is assisting with €247,000 for over 8,734 beneficiaries.
Additionally, 569,311 persons are expected to benefit indirectly.
Launching it, Mr Bright Wireko Brobbey, the Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, noted that the GEOP has come at a time when government was committed to strengthening the private sector to boost growth and development.
“It is our responsibility to build on existing synergies, strengthen collaboration and enhance linkages that would push towards job creation and skills development through government flagship policies and programmes”.
Mr Wireko Brobbey said as a Ministry with the mandate to ensure decent work outcome, they were optimistic to enjoy the partnership with Non-governmental Organization (NGO’s), private sector, EU, and other stakeholders for initiating laudable projects such as the GEOP.
Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, Minister of Inner City and Zongo Development, noted that unemployment among the youth was a worry to government.
According to him 48 per cent of the youth were unemployed, indicating the trend constituted a security threat to the nation.
The Sector Minister was elated the GEOP would go a long way to tackle the unemployment rate in the country and improve the standard of living among youth.
He said the Ministry would like to see improvement in infrastructural development, sanitation, security and crime control in Zongo communities.
The Minister of Inner City and Zongo Development noted the existence of high crime rates among communities that poverty was endemic.
He pleaded with the EU and Christian Aid to extend their interventions to Ayawaso North so that inhabitants would not be left out in the fight against poverty.
Chief Alhaji Imoru Baba Issah, Chairman of Ayawaso Council of Zongo Chiefs, who chaired the occasion expressed his delight to the EU and Christian Aid for selecting Nima and Maamobi, which had the highest population in the Accra metropolis.
According to Chief Issah, Nima had a population of 80,843 out which 42, 088 were females and Maamobi had a population of 61, 724 out of which 32,200 were also females.
He noted that social amenities did not match to the needs of the two communities hence the youth were fully exposed and subjected to pressures that impacted life choices.
Chief Issah mentioned some of the negative activities prevalent in these communities as high patronage of hard drugs activities, recruitment of young men for political tuggarism, Internet Fraud, heavy betting activities and engaging youth in the community for anti-social acts.
“We were therefore happy when we were informed that Christian Aid had the intention to provide opportunities for our young men and women to have a decent living.
“We hope this intervention will restore hope and self-confident,” he said.
Mrs Gifty Dansoah Appiah, Country Manager, Christian Aid, expressed regret that unemployment continued to be a bane to the development aspiration of many nations and Ghana has not been left out of the situation.
Mrs Appiah said Ghana currently has over 250,000 young people who enter the labour market annually but only two per cent of them are engaged by the formal sector leaving out 98 per cent to survive in the informal sector or remained unemployed.
Based on that, she said the Christian Aid approached the EU and put forward innovative interventions to promote skills development, Job creation and local economic development.
On the activities of the Christian Aid, she said the UK based NGO was currently working in over 40 countries around the world and were tackling the root causes of poverty, striving to achieve equality, dignity, and freedom of all regardless of faith or nationality.
“For the next three years we are going to work in partnership and share the pride in our contribution to change and improve on the lives of the people of Ghana,” she added.
Mr Joseph Bogrebon Allan, Programme Officer, EU said 8,734 persons were going to benefit under GEOP.
Mr Allan said under the GEOP programme, women’s groups would be strengthened to undertake business ventures while citizens and local government would also increase their revenue mobilisation in a transparent manner.
Mr Ernest Okyere, Programmes Officer, Christian Aid, noted that the GEOP would be targeting young women between 15 to 35 years in the informal sector and more priority for People Living with Disability.