Ghana has a very young population. More than half of the people there are younger than 25 years. In large regions of Ghana there is still extreme poverty. The social and economic problems of children and young people pose special development challenges for the country. Especially in the rural areas young people have very limited access to education, training and the labour market. There, poverty and unemployment go hand in hand with hunger, malnutrition, disease, protection and homelessness.
At the same time, life in the countryside is becoming more and more challenging due to climate change. Longer and more extreme periods of drought, as well as shorter rainy seasons with increasingly heavy rainfall, lead to devastating damage and crop failures, depriving people of their only means of livelihood.
The economic situation of the country is enormously dependent on the export of a few goods such as gold, oil and cocoa and is therefore strongly influenced by the fluctuating world market prices for these goods. Timber is also on the export list, although the alarmingly fast disappearing forest areas are a major environmental issue in Ghana.
Although Ghana’s government has long recognised that the development of the bamboo sector can reduce poverty, promote economic growth and respond to environmental problems, it faces major challenges in this regard. While the country’s abundant bamboo resources are underutilized, Ghana’s forests continue to shrink.