A Deputy Chairman of the African Union Commission (AUC), Mr Kwesi Quartey, has said Ghana needs to reconsider and review its retirement age upwards from the stipulated 60 years.
Mr Quartey said that would help the nation benefit from the knowledge and experience of people who fell within that age bracket who were still very productive.
“As people age, they acquire knowledge and experience in their areas of expertise and they become valuable resources where they can deliver to the best of their ability. Most people, at the age of 60, are still productive and active and they tend to be at the height of their prowess,” he stated.
He, therefore, suggested that the retirement age should be made flexible, so that if a person was healthy and willing, he or she would be given the chance to continue working for some few more years after attaining 60 years.
Mr Quartey made the suggestion when he delivered the keynote address at the annual research conference on ageing organised by the Centre for Ageing Studies of the University of Ghana.
The two-day conference, which is the third edition, is being held at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana on the theme: “Ageing in the African context: Emerging issues and empowering options”.
The conference, which forms part of the International Day of Older Persons, seeks to share and understand issues surrounding ageing and how best to prosecute the agenda for quality life for the elderly.
The 2010 Population and Housing Census showed that although the proportion of older persons (60+ years) decreased from 7.2 per cent in 2000 to 6.7 per cent in 2010, in terms of absolute numbers there had been a seven-fold increase in the population of the aged from 215,258 in 1960 to 1,643,978 in 2010.
The proportion of the female elderly population was 56 per cent, compared with 44 per cent for males.
Mr Quartey said Africa lacked trained skilled labour and, therefore, people who had acquired skills and knowledge over a long period of time should be given the chance to transfer their knowledge, skills and expertise to the younger generation.
He said the aged became valuable resources and a reliable storehouse of knowledge and skills who could immensely contribute their quota to the development of the country even when they were 60 years.
He further noted that the ageing population was growing and, therefore, there was the need to pay critical attention to the needs of the aged to ensure their well-being and quality of life.
Although the government of Ghana approved a National Ageing Policy in 2010, Mr Quartey said, much had not been done to promote the welfare and well-being of the aged in the country.
Retirement age gradually increasing
The minimum retirement age in some developed countries had gradually increased from 60 to 62 years by 2018 and it is expected to be gradually reviewed upwards from 65 to 67 years by 2023.
In the United States, the retirement age is between 62 and 65 years.