Unemployment: Arab spring not imminent – Expert

Vladmir Antwi-Danso
Vladmir Antwi-Danso

The Dean of Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College Vladmir Antwi-Danso has dismissed fears of a possible replication of the Arab Spring in Ghana over increasing spate of unemployment.

More than 1.2 million persons from 15 years and older are estimated to be unemployed, representing the total unemployment rate of 11.9%, according to a 2015 Ghana Labour Force Survey Report.

Of this number, about 714,916 are females, representing 57.2 per cent and 535,997 for males representing 42.8%, the survey commissioned by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) stated.

President Akufo-Addo hesitated in January this year in a media encounter to give an accurate data of how many jobs his government created since coming to power. The figures, he said should be expected this month [April] as government was in the process of putting together the statistics on the exact number of jobs that have been created by his NPP government.

Speaking Thursday at the 5th African Policy Think Tank Summit in Accra, the Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta attributed Ghana and the Africa’s debilitating youth unemployment figures to the failure of the continent’s economy to drive job creation, warning that if care was not taken the situation will lead to the replication of Arab spring in the country

The Arab Spring was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings and armed rebellions that spread across the Middle East in early 2011 due largely to massive youth unemployment in the region.

But Vladmir Antwi-Danso observed that the situation in the country, even though alarming, does not provide fertile grounds for a civil unrest of that kind.

“The point is that something has to trigger something. Even when you have just two and half percent of unemployment it could trigger anything. Now you have twelve and half percent, thirty percent like you have in the Arab spring; thirty-one percent seriously employed and it is like they are unemployed and unemployable. We are getting there somehow but those things that trigger what the unemployed could do I haven’t found them yet,” the International Relations and security expert said in response to concerns raised by the Finance Minister.

“We have a certain social kind of situation [and] the family system that we have in Ghana does well. Then the social safety net either from the government or from relatives does well to cushion us…that kind of bond where society is taking care of itself is still there. It is dying gradually but it will a lot of time before it dies [completely]. The religious kind of believe in the spirit is also working well even though it’s bad. So I wouldn’t say tomorrow we are going to have Arab spring,” he added.

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