The number of young people in Africa is rising quickly. Africa was home to 226 million people aged 15-24 in 2015 — almost a fifth of the youth population worldwide. According to projections, there will be 42% more young people in Africa by 2030.
In Ghana, meanwhile, young people make up just over 35% of the population — meaning there’s huge potential for young people in Ghana and across sub-Saharan Africa to empower their communities and bring about transformational change. But first, they must be empowered themselves.
So far, however, this empowerment is yet to happen in Ghana (although the government did launch its “YouStart” programme in March this year aiming to tackle the issue), and it shows in the nation’s rates of youth unemployment. Ghana has a youth unemployment rate of 12% and an underemployment rate of over 50%, according to the World Bank this month — higher than overall unemployment rates across other sub-Saharan African countries, and compared to an average national unemployment rate of about 6%.
“Ghana's youth employment challenge is vast and requires an all-round, deliberate, and consistent response,” said Pierre Frank Laporte, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
The very good news, however, is that there are activists, advocates, and organisations already out there working to empower young people and set them up for the futures they need and deserve. As part of our Global Citizen Festival campaign, and in the run up to Global Citizen Festival: Accra on Sept. 24 — find out more about the festival and how you can get free tickets here — we’re working closely with five organizations in Ghana and across sub-Saharan Africa that are empowering young people and changing lives.
Let’s dive in to see who these organizations are and what they do.
1. Ghana Education Collaborative
The Ghana Education Collaborative provides support to exceptional students who are living in poverty in Ghana. As well as academic scholarships, the nonprofit also provides mentorship opportunities, access to a strong peer community, and guidance for students all year round, focusing on leadership development so they can impact their communities too. The organization envisions a time when education is accessible to all Ghanaian students.
2. Africa Matters Initiative
Africa Matters Initiative is a youth-led organization that believes Africa’s large youth population is an opportunity for the continued development and growth of the continent.
To this end, they upskill and empower young Africans through capacity building and community impact projects. The objective is to see all African youth become change-makers who empower those around them.
3. LEAP Africa
LEAP Africa is a youth-focused leadership development nonprofit on a mission to inspire, empower, and equip a new generation of leaders with the skills and tools for personal and community transformation.
It provides capacity building for young people in leadership, education, employability, entrepreneurship, and civic participation to enable citizens to demand good governance and creatively address social issues.
4. Ikamva Youth
Joy Olivier and Makhosi Gogwana founded Ikamva Youth in 2003, working to provide a safe space where students have access to after-school care, including homework support and other services. Having grown from humble beginnings, they now have more than 15 branches across South Africa and support over 5,000 learners yearly.
5. Junior Achievement Africa
Junior Achievement Africa empowers and enables youth to thrive in a global economy. To allow young people to own their economic success, they strongly emphasise entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and work readiness.
Now you’ve met these incredible organisations, you can join us in supporting their work. You can do this by taking action here to support the Global Citizen Festival campaign in empowering girls and women, driving climate action, breaking the systemic barriers that keep people in poverty, and protecting and uplifting the world’s advocates and activists.
We’ll also be sharing more about these organisations and their work in the lead up to Global Citizen Festival, so follow us @GlblCtznAfrica on Twitter and Facebook, and @GlblCtzn on Instagram and TikTok, so you don’t miss a thing.
If you’d like to, you can also support the work of these organisations financially, by donating to one or more of them through our partnership with GlobalGiving.
Global Citizen Festival is calling on world leaders, corporations, and philanthropists to do more than they’ve ever done before to End Extreme Poverty NOW. Through our global campaign and with stages in two iconic locations — NYC’s Central Park and Accra’s Black Star Square — we will unite leaders, artists, activists, and Global Citizens around the world on Sept. 24 to achieve an ambitious policy agenda focused on empowering girls and women, taking climate action, breaking systemic barriers, and lifting up activists and advocates. Wherever you are in the world, you can join the campaign and take action right now by downloading the Global Citizen app.