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Ghana Learns from Youth Employment Programs and Social Safety Nets in Latin America and the Caribbean

June 15, 2011

Accra, June 15 – As part of the South-South Initiative launched by World Bank Group President Zoellick in 2008, a high-level delegation from Ghana which included the Ministry of Local Government and Development, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, and the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training participated in a two week study tour to Bolivia, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica in May. The objective was to learn more about the design, execution, and evaluation of social protection programs and policies in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and to share experiences from various programs in Ghana.

The exchange focused on active labor market policies and youth employment initiatives targeted at less-educated youth–a group that faces considerable barriers to labor market success in both LAC and Africa. The Ghana delegation also examined major instruments of social assistance in LAC including conditional cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households.

The delegation directly observed the functioning of a number of World Bank-financed programs. They visited a health center in Bolivia where a nation-wide program provides cash transfers to pregnant women on condition they attend regular prenatal and postnatal checkups; took a guided tour through the Dominican Republic’s INFOTEP training institute where poor youth are taught technical and cognitive skills for an array of professions; and went to a youth information center in one of Jamaica’s poorest parishes where adolescents freely discuss and access information on issues concerning them and their communities. These and other activities provided a unique opportunity to learn from the region’s success and export some lessons and instruments to Ghana and beyond. 

Host countries acquired knowledge from the Ghana’s National Youth Employment Program (NYEP), introduced in 2006 to address the growing number of poor youth entering the labor force each year and the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme (LEAP), which seeks to stimulate consumption, employment, and human capital amongst extremely poor and vulnerable people in Ghana.

The objective of the South-South Initiative is to provide a simple, low-cost way for policy makers and development practitioners in developing countries to share their knowledge and expertise in overcoming poverty. Financing of this exchange was made possible by the institutional strengthening component of the Ghana Social Opportunities project, a US$ 88 million operation aimed at improving social spending and providing income-generating opportunities for the poor.

Mission delegates will disseminate findings and recommendations emerging from this exchange to a broader audience in Ghana and lessons learned will be applied to the national context in an endeavor to improve the country’s youth employment and social protection strategies.

List of Mission Delegates:






Hon. Elvis  Afriyie Ankra

Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development

Deputy Minister (Leader of Delegation)

Dan Baffour-Awuah

Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET)

Executive Director

Alhassan Iddrisu

Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning

Director, Real Sector Division

Mohammed Pelpuo

National Youth Employment Programme

Deputy National Coordinator

Frank Nitti

Office of the Vice President

Director Logistics and Communications

Sauda Ahmed Seinu

Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning

Senior Economics Officer

Steven Farji Weiss

World Bank, Africa Region, Social Protection.

Social Protection and Labor Markets Consultant


Media Contacts
In Accra
Kofi Tsikata