Understanding the context of the Youth Forward initiative in Ghana

Working and discussion papers
August 2016
Alexandra Lowe, Edem Agbe and Fletcher Tembo, with Anne Buffardi

The context in which a programme operates can influence implementation efforts and outcomes. Using an Overseas Development Institute political economy analysis framework, this working paper explores the context of the Youth Forward initiative in Ghana. It first establishes the underlying cultural, political, economic and geographical factors, which influence the country today, and then identifies key stakeholder groups with influence on the initiative’s progress, to locate entry points for Youth Forward to influence and shape local dynamics.

Youth Forward focuses on economically disadvantaged young people, aged 15-24, living in Ghana and Uganda who are on a low income (living on less than $2 a day), out of school, unemployed or underemployed, and moving through a transition point in their life.

Ghana has achieved significant economic growth and development since its transition to multi-party democracy and the political stability that has accompanied this. However, young people have not always benefited from growth as much as other groups. For young people to benefit from economic opportunities, it is necessary to engage a diverse range of actors, including state-run marketing boards and traditional leaders. One of the most important questions is access to land, which will allow both for profitable cocoa farming and spur demand for construction services benefiting young artisans.