Nearly 900,000 Ghanaian children engaged in labour — Statistical Service

To mark the World Day Against Child Labour, the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has released troubling statistics on child work from the 2023 Annual Household Income and Expenditure Survey.

The data reveals that over 1.1 million children aged 5 to 17 were involved in various forms of work in the fourth quarter of 2023, equating to 10.3% of children in this age group. Notably, around 893,000 of these children are engaged in employment work, predominantly paid.

The survey highlights a gender disparity, with 56% of working children being male. Alarmingly, nearly half a million of these children (458,443) are not attending school, with 68,500 never having attended and 389,943 having dropped out. Rural areas bear a significant burden, with almost three-quarters (795,175; 72%) of working children, compared to urban areas which account for over a quarter (309,199; 28%).

Regionally, the Ashanti Region has the highest percentage of working children at 13.6%, followed by Bono East (12.1%) and Northern (11.8%). Conversely, the Ahafo Region (0.8%), Greater Accra (1.6%), and Western North (1.8%) report the lowest percentages.

A closer look at the types of work these children are engaged in shows that 35.4% work as family helpers, 31.2% in farm work, 11.7% as unpaid trainees, and 7.3% in own-use production. Other forms of work include non-farm activities (6.2%), wage work (5.3%), and various forms of domestic and voluntary work (2.9%).

The occupational distribution reveals that 60.4% of these children are in elementary occupations, followed by craft and trade-related work (19.8%) and skilled agricultural, forestry, and fish-related work (17.7%). Service and sales workers (1.7%), plant and machine operators (0.2%), and managers (0.1%) represent the smallest categories.

The service sector employs the vast majority of working children (91.7%), while agriculture and industry engage 4.8% and 3.6% respectively.

Furthermore, 80.4% of working children contribute to family work across agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, with 11.7% in unpaid apprenticeships. A small percentage are self-employed (1.9%), paid employees (0.5%), or fall into other employment categories (4.9%).

The World Day Against Child Labour, observed on June 12th, aims to raise awareness and drive action against child labour worldwide.

This year’s theme, “Let’s Act on Our Commitments: End Child Labour,” calls for renewed efforts to eliminate child labour and protect children’s rights.

By: Nancy Oye Tanihu | | Ghana

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