Arthur Shows the Way to Minimize Recent Graduate Unemployment in Ghana

By Bernard Frimpong Bannor – Agriculture & Entrepreneurship Program Officer

Arthur at his recycling business.

Unemployment has become a major developmental issue in Ghana. Most young graduates from the nation’s universities and other educational institutions have no employment opportunities. This has contributed to increased crime rates and involvement in illegal activities.

Drug addiction is one of the issues that’s resulted from the high unemployment rates.   A good number of underemployed graduates have recently taken to abusing Tramadol, a highly addictive painkiller.  Young people have told journalists that they use the drug to drown their sorrows.

This problem has added further strain to many of the mothers in Self-Help International’s micro-credit program.  Mothers from rural communities are working hard to see their children through higher education, but the children become jobless and continue to draw from their families’ scant resources.

In Self-Help’s effort to mitigate this problem, it is partnering with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture (KITA) and Kwadaso Agriculture College (KAC) to give much needed hands-on training to final year agriculture students.  This training will enable the students to go into agriculture related enterprises, thereby creating employment for themselves and others. Though the focus is on agriculture, any opportunity that leads to creating employment can be considered.

During one of Self-Help’s visits to KNUST, Arthur, a final year student, approached Self-Help with a proposal to set up a system to recycle plastic bottles.

One of Arthur’s employees, Monica

His idea would create employment and help reduce plastic waste. He needed a loan to buy a crusher to break the bottles into pellets that are used to produce other items.

Arthur was invited to make a presentation to Self-Help and his proposal was approved. He was given a loan of GHC 3,000 in June 2018 to purchase and install a crusher. He currently produces and sells pellets to two companies in Accra, Sky Plastics and City Waste.

When Self-Help visited Arthur on Nov. 23, 2018, his business was doing very well.  He had employed two women, Monica and Tiwaa, to help him remove labels and corks. Arthur was also working with many people that visit the dumping sites, collect plastic bottles, and sell the bottles to Arthur to earn a living.

Arthur has two major challenges: the high cost of transporting bottles in smaller quantities to many different locations; and the significant amount of time spent removing labels and corks.  Self-Help is collaborating with Arthur to address these challenges.

With the considerable amount of plastic waste found on the streets of Kumasi and other cities in Ghana, Arthur is not only creating jobs – he is helping to improve the environment. With improved sanitation, there will be reduced incidents of malaria, which kills hundreds of pregnant mothers and children annually.  The general well being of the people will improve.

Hopefully, this example from Arthur will inspire a can-do spirit in many young graduates who will embrace the challenge to start their own businesses and make Ghana more productive, safe, and peaceful.