Strengthening the Capacity of Business Associations to Support Youth Employment: A Case Study of the Artisans Association of Ghana

Youth unemployment and joblessness together constitute a major socio-economic and political problem in Ghana. The Ghana Statistical Service 2015 report noted that 13.4 percent of youth are unemployed, while the Ghana Living Standards Survey Round 6 reported that approximately 30 percent of youth in Accra and 24 percent of youth in other urban areas are unemployed. Though estimates vary, unemployment is a challenge among all age groups and its impact is particularly severe among young people.

To address the challenge of youth unemployment, the Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurial Development Initiative for Employment (YIEDIE) was a five-year project implemented from 2015 to 2020 to create economic opportunities in the construction sector in five of Ghana’s largest cities for economically-disadvantaged youth. Implemented by Global Communities in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, YIEDIE provided youth with skills training in construction trades and entrepreneurship, business development services, mentoring and financial literacy, and encouraged and supported young women to seize opportunities in non-traditional occupations.

However, many of the opportunities available to youth in construction are informal, and young people need support to successfully take advantage of them. Therefore, YIEDIE partnered with the Artisans Association of Ghana (AAG) to provide market-based and sustainable services and support to youth artisans using the LabourNet model adopted from India with a particular focus on its job-matching system.

This case study discusses the ways in which YIEDIE assisted AAG to better serve its members and increase its financial sustainability, and reflects on the successes and challenges of this approach to labor market intermediation in the informal sector.