Mercy Afrowa Needjan, the President of the Greater Accra Markets Association, has emphasized the pivotal role of Ghana’s markets in fueling agricultural and informal sector growth. In addition to being essential for the country’s economic health, these bustling marketplaces generate substantial revenue for local authorities and the wider economy.
Speaking at the 4th Annual National Precision Quality (PQ) Conference organized by the Design & Technology Institute (DTI), Ms. Needjan underscored the significance of labor market information systems in stimulating job creation. The conference, supported by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), and the Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET), united representatives from the public and private sectors, youth organizations, and the media. The aim was to deliberate on the importance of developing a robust labor market information system that effectively addresses the employment needs of Ghanaians.
The Immense Potential of Revitalizing the Informal Sector
Ms. Needjan highlighted the immense potential of revitalizing the informal sector, which constitutes over 70 percent of Ghana’s national economy. By doing so, the country can enhance competition both domestically and internationally, leading to job opportunities that drive economic growth. She called upon the private sector to join hands with markets and the agricultural industry to establish processing hubs across the nation. This initiative would not only reduce post-harvest losses but also create employment and generate income for stakeholders in the agricultural value chain, while promoting locally-made goods and bolstering the economy.
The Need for Stronger Collaborations
Urging for stronger collaborations with the agricultural sector, Ms. Needjan emphasized the need to enhance Ghana’s markets, promote competition, and create sustainable jobs. She lauded the partnership with DTI, highlighting how the PQ training had positively impacted market association members, resulting in improved quality of goods and services, increased income, and the adoption of proper record-keeping practices.
Constance Elizabeth Swaniker, Founder and CEO of DTI, described the conference as part of a transformative partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, focused on empowering Ghanaian youth through livelihoods and sustainable jobs. The initiative aims to provide 40,000 direct and indirect work opportunities for young people, employing a multiplier approach.
DTI’s Role in Public-Private-Academic Partnerships
Ms. Swaniker praised DTI as a leading example of successful public-private-academic partnerships that create jobs and enhance skills. She expressed excitement about collaborating with stakeholders, including the government, to develop a demand-driven, robust labor market and skills intelligence system that supports job creation and drives economic growth.
Recognizing the current economic challenges faced by Ghana, this year’s conference theme holds great significance. A deeper understanding of the labor market enables identification of skill shortages and opportunities for job creation, informing the development of effective policies and educational programs.
DTI has undertaken various activities in collaboration with key stakeholders, including partnering with Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) to enhance Ghana’s labor market information system. This collaboration aims to create an advanced and relevant information system, empowering policymakers to make informed decisions and tackle youth unemployment effectively.
Ms. Swaniker stressed the importance of inclusivity and empowerment for the informal sector, which serves as the backbone of Ghana’s economy. By recognizing their potential and involving them in relevant discussions, stakeholders can unlock untapped opportunities, paving the way for a brighter and more prosperous future for all Ghanaians.