Education investments combined with youth entrepreneurship and optimism can fuel growth in Ghana.
Ghana ranks highest among the six Sub-Saharan African countries included in the Index. The country is in the top third for citizen participation and health but the bottom third for economic opportunity, education, and information and communications technology (ICT).
Ghana’s 9th place performance in citizen participation is based on having a youth policy in place, a lower than Index average age for office (21 years), and a high rate of volunteering among youth (25 percent).
The country’s 8th place rank in the health domain is driven by low rates of tobacco use (6 percent), youth self-harm fatalities (8 per 100,000 youth), and youth stress (42 percent).
While Ghana’s GDP per capita has risen from US$975 in 2000 to $1,697 in 2015, it remains well below the Index and world averages. Youth entrepreneurship is strong in this West African state. Twenty-six percent of youth engage in early-stage entrepreneurial activity, exceeding the Index average of 15 percent. This is in contrast to Ghana’s low youth borrowing rate of 3 percent, which places the country 25th for this indicator.
Ghana places 22nd in the education domain, but recent public expenditures point to a growing commitment. In 2012, Ghana invested 38 percent of its budget in education. The following year, the government reduced the level to 22 percent, in line with previous years. Nevertheless, even at this lower rate, Ghana ranks first for education expenditures among all Index countries. The Index average for education spending is 15 percent.
Ghana also ranks 22nd in ICT. Internet use in the country is trending upward, and mobile phone usage is very strong. Ghana is 9th for that indicator, with 130 cellular subscriptions per 100 people.
Counter to global trends, road fatalities in Ghana are on the rise since 1990. In 2015, the country saw 43 deaths in this manner per 100,000 youth. The country ranks 20th on the indicator.
Ghana ranks 11th in gender equality among all Index countries. Women are much less likely to report a fear of walking alone at night (28 percent) compared to other Sub-Saharan African countries.
The Global Millennial Viewpoints Survey
Young Ghanaians surveyed by IYF do not feel that their government cares about them, but they are very optimistic about the future. Seventy-six percent of youth surveyed in Ghana feel their government does not care about their wants and needs. Compared to other Sub-Saharan African countries, this figure is high. Young people in Kenya (49 percent) and Uganda (64 percent) responded less negatively to this question.
Eighty-eight percent of Ghanaian youth surveyed feel that their standard of living will be better than that of their parents. This optimism may be fueled by Ghana’s steady GDP growth combined with strong rates of youth entrepreneurship.
Compared to an Index average of 49 percent, young people surveyed in Ghana report feeling stressed (42 percent). Overall, 69 percent of youth polled in the country feel they are in near perfect health. While this figure places Ghana at 22nd for this indicator, it still represents a robust majority of youth.
Young people surveyed in Ghana strongly support gender equality. Eighty-nine percent agree that women should have all the same rights as men.