The Security Threatof Unemployment in GhanaThe definition of “National Security” is ever changing, asits framework is based on the study of human evolution and behaviour. Therehave been many factors serving as contributors to the threats to states andpopulation, including both human-made (e.g. terrorism) as well as naturalhazards with the two, sometimes interacting (shortage of a natural resourcecreating violence or indeed foreign intervention).Similarly, unemployment is the source of a series of socialand, in extension, political problems a country, any country can face.
Unemployment is an indicator of several possible malfunctions and lawlessnessas far as public policy or the very structure of a society and an economy areconcerned. The relatively high rates of criminal activities, and the consequentstate failure which increases the risk to national security could beexceedingly attributed to the high unemployment rate in the country. The causal link between unemployment and crime has been highlightedby many criminologists, even though some believe it’s a thin line. According toWatts, R. et al., 2008, in their book titled; International Criminology; A Critical Introduction, they emphasisedthat a nation increasing crimes and violence rates would only be reversed ifnew employment programmes were established and existing ones extended and ifthere was greater social equity and justice.
It further reiterated that;unemployment and financial hardship encourage people to commit a crime toalleviate their material hardship.It was further echoed by Glover, C., 2013, in his book, Crime and Inequality, that unemploymentand material deprivation cause one to engage in crimes and violence.
It is highly likely today that many people in Ghana wouldaccept as a matter of common sense, that unemployment causes crime.Unemployment causes poverty, and that destitution createsinsecurity. In a nation where many people are unemployed, they would be poor;and debt would lead to the vulnerability of lives and property as the people’scapacity to engage themselves meaningfully in the nation’s socio-economicprocess would be highly reduced. They would channel their energies tounorthodox methods as crimes to eke out a living for themselves, and as they dothis, they endanger lives and property in the society and raise the cost ofgovernance. It is therefore paramount to reconsider restructuring of the nation’ssocio-economic processes and policies to reduce poverty and unemployment and toaccommodate the less privileged and unemployed members of the society toachieve national security.The World Bank in its current report on jobs in Ghana hasdisclosed that about 48 percent of the youth in the country, who are between15-24 years do not have jobs. The report further questioned the country’spreparedness in dealing with the youth bulge in the coming decades. Poverty and unemployment as social problems have remained asignificant developmental challenge for many countries for a long time, whichcould severely impact on the countries security and Ghana is no exception.
Thecurrent happenings in the country are a significant indicator of the rise inunemployment, with individuals being easily persuaded to engage in criminalactivity, including extremist’s acts. Recent occurrences;1. ISIS men arrested withgrenades at Odorkor2. Armed robbers overrunKwabenya Police Station to free colleagues, and killing a police officer onduty3. Bantama records increasingrobbery cases 4.
Aflao: 13 suspectedrobbers arrested, 15 arrested over Lapaz police killing, to mention but a few.These headings in the news are all indicators that thegovernment should grab the bull by the horn and implement employmentopportunities for the youth. Armed robbers overrun KwabenyaPolice Station to free their colleagues, and killed a police officer on duty;this is a dangerous attack on the nation’s security forces. It must beemphasised that this was a well planned and executed attack on the police bythese “so-called robbers”.
My experience highlights that before suchan attack could be carried out, some form of surveillance must have beencarried out to ascertain who, will be there at the time of the shooting or wasthere inside information, detailing the ins and outs of the police station.Asking such questions would help zero in the type of criminals that the policeare up against.Time has changed, so have thesecriminals, Ghana police must change its traditional ways of going about itsbusiness. This means more training by competent and updated persons tobuild their capacity and be given the necessary tools and logistics; be equippedwith modern gadgetry including communication devices and transport to intensifytheir operations. I recall when The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) hadto change its Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP’s) to marry up with thechanges of the enemy combatants (Taliban) used on the battlefields at the time.Majority of these’so-called criminals’ can easily be a recruitment target for radical groups.
Thefact is that if these youths have alternative means of livelihood or aregainfully employed in the economy, most of them would not take part in thesecriminal activities. The most disturbing aspect of this phenomenon is that someof those involved in these crimes are educated. The worst thing that would everhappen to a nation is for its educated citizens to be unemployed and beinvolved in crimes, such as cyber-crimes and advanced-fee fraud. The plague of unemployment has ravaged several nations ofthe world in different dimensions and shades.
However, in Ghana, theunemployment challenge is captured by the growing number of unemployed youthroaming the streets all over the country, with over 84,000 applicants applyingfor only 500 available positions.To tackle the problems of poverty and unemployment in thecountry and the associated security challenges they pose. There should be aneed for paradigm shift in the outlook of our leaders; a review of some of ournational policies; and a review of our educational curriculum with the view ofmaking Ghanaians imbibe the philosophy of transparency, accountability andself-reliance.
This would help to reduce the security challenges posed byunemployment and the poverty in the country. National security, poverty and unemployment are the mostprominent problems facing most nations of the world today, whether they aredeveloped or developing. They are impediments to social progress and leads towaste of human and material resources. It is important for these issues to beaddressed, as security strategies remain incomplete without addressing povertyand unemployment as a nation.The causal links between unemployment, poverty and nationalsecurity cannot be under-estimated. The earlier the government starts addressingthe issue of unemployment and poverty in the country, the earlier it will helpgradually reduce the security challenges posed to achieve stable politicalgovernance in the country.
It would also promote sustained, inclusive andsustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work forall to fulfil the United Nation’s Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs).The socio-economic conditions would easily entice the youthto turn to conflicts, extremism, and crimes as a means of livelihood,threatening national security; if these issues are not addressed. About the writerGerald Sintim-Aboagye is a former British Army Official andthe Director of S4L Consult, a policy consulting firm that provides security toindividuals, corporate institutions and other security agencies.
He served for over a decade in the British Army and has awealth of experience in foreign relations, peacekeeping, security, andcounter-terrorism measures after on-duty tours to Afghanistan, Iraq and manyother hotspots.He’s currently an MA Student at Staffordshire University,U.K majoring in Terrorism, Crime and Global Security.Hisfocus is to provide expert advice in tackling some of the impending threats onthe Africa continent and in mobilising the grassroots to curb the unrest andthe risk of conflicts, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.