The latest survey by the Ghana Statistical Service revealed that 42,396 agribusiness firms closed during the lockdown, with 16,091 of those firms still remaining closed. The impact of COVID-19 was more pronounced in the service and industry sectors, particularly for agribusiness firms that closed as a result of the lockdown. Furthermore, 55.2 percent of the total workforce in agribusiness were laid off due to the pandemic. Reduced wages, fewer hours, x increased unemployment in Ghana’s most critical industry places food security of the population at risk.
Agriculture in Ghana employs more than half of the country’s population on a formal and informal basis, accounting for nearly half of GDP and export earnings. To account for the damage done to the industry as a result of the pandemic, the Ministry of Trade and Industry along with the Rural Enterprise Program will soon initiate 58 agro-processing industries under the Youth in One District Factory Initiative. In addition, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) is working with the government on reforms in the private sector, to launch Ghana’s business development and implementation plans post-pandemic. Alongside these efforts, finding digital solutions that leverage Ghana’s youth population will be critical to long-term sustainable development.
Ghana is experiencing a fusion of technology and agriculture industries, using modern technologies to enhance agricultural productivity in order to achieve food security and sustainable development. The median age in Ghana is 21 years old, meaning Ghana is relying on its youth workers to develop technological solutions and continue to promote digital economic growth.
The key to sustainable development in Ghana is shifting reliance on traditional agriculture to technology enhanced agriculture to enhance productivity. The increase in AI and integration of digital technologies across industries, coupled with the emphasis on equipping youth with digital skills, constitutes Ghana as the hub for technological advancement and the future of the nation’s development.