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  • Desmond Boateng

Non-Academic Career Opportunities in Economics

A smart person learns from his mistakes, but a truly wise person learns from the mistakes of others”- Ken Schramm.

Usually, navigating career prospects when pursuing a career in economics is not really clear. One of the common answers you will receive is that you can do everything with an economics degree. This answer is very often misleading and false. Well, you cannot become a surgeon with an economics degree. The question then is, what exactly can one do with a degree in economics?

Here, we explore some of the non-academic career opportunities that you can pursue with an economics degree. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

1. Opportunities in International Organizations

Most often, a person with an economics degree will be very attractive to international organizations such as the United Nations (UN), the World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the likes. The UN has some specialized agencies that one can even explore - such as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) which is focused on eradicating poverty in developing countries by creating strong policies.

A similar agency is the World Food Programme (WFP) which focuses on providing life-saving support to people at risk of hunger, and coordinating the responses of the global humanitarian community on a larger scale.
Another agency - United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) focuses on providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children around the world. There are other agencies that one can work for such as Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO), International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), World Health Organization (WHO), International Labor Organization (ILO), World Trade Organization (WTO), and the International Trade Centre (ITC). Working for organizations like these comes with several opportunities. Examples include overseas working experience, improving communications, knowledge of new languages and culture, and global networking opportunities, among others.

2. Opportunities in Governmental and Research Organizations

A degree in economics also gives a person the chance to work in governmental organizations that implement government policies such as the Ministry of Finance and similar policy-implementing organizations. In addition, there are opportunities in research departments like the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Research and Grant Institute of Ghana (REGIG). A job with governmental organizations gives job security, benefits such as health insurance and social security.

3. Opportunities in other sectors

One can also work for not-for-profit research organizations that are into policy research, and think tanks such as IMANI Ghana, Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA), and Danquah Institute. It is also possible to work in international NGOs such as WorldVision, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), CARE Ghana, and the likes. There are opportunities in the banks (commercial and investment banks) and the insurance industry. You can also work for consulting companies such as McKinsey & Company.

Personality Highlight in Economics

Akinwumi A. Adesina, (Ph.D.) is one of the major highlights when it comes to economics. He has bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. degrees in Agricultural Economics. He worked as an Economist at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics. He then became the Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria and now, he is the President of the African Development Bank.

So, we see that an economics degree offers a wide range of opportunities to choose from. One only needs to work hard and be dedicated. In addition, getting the right mentorship on this learning journey makes the sky only your starting point.

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