The FINANCIAL -- The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors on March 26 approved US$50 million in continuing support to Côte d’Ivoire’s effort in promoting employment opportunities and skills training programs for the youth population.
Since the late 1990s, Côte d’Ivoire has experienced detrimental political, social, and economic crisis, culminating in a 2010 post-electoral violent conflict. Throughout the past decade a poor education system, the politicization of higher education, and high unemployment and poverty rates have persisted in the country. These barriers negatively impact the youth population, making them susceptible to ongoing political tensions.
In 2011, the WBG’s Board approved a US$50 million International Development Association (IDA)* rapid response emergency grant for the Côte d’Ivoire Youth Employment and Skills Development Project. Today’s new credit from IDA will scale up the ongoing project which has made significant achievements. It provides much needed financial assistance to create temporary income and employment opportunities for vulnerable youth. It also supports professional skills training and provides a work program for young people to gain experience in economic growth sectors to improve their employability and increase the potential for future earning opportunities.
“Improving and promoting youth employment supports the World Bank Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) recently completed in Côte d’Ivoire. It emphasizes job creation as an essential element to build social cohesion and consolidate peace and stability in the country,” said Ousmane DIAGANA, World Bank Country Director for Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin and Guinea. “The Government has identified the development of skilled and competitive human capital as the center of Cote d’Ivoire’s medium and long-term strategies to sustain long-term growth and improve competitiveness.”
The project contributes to the World Bank Group’s (WBG) broad goals of promoting inclusive growth and eradicating extreme poverty. It will strengthen the alignment of the project’s activities with the priorities of the 2013 Government Employment Recovery Strategy (Stratégie de relance de l’emploi) as well as with the analysis of recent employment data which underlines the need to raise agriculture productivity and non-agricultural self-employment where the majority of the poor’s jobs are centered.
Enormous challenges persist due to the high concentration of the labor force in self-employed informal and low-productivity occupations, particularly among the poor, female workers, and people living in rural areas, according to World Bank.
“This additional financing is strongly supported by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire as a request to boost activities under the original project because of its immense success in the country to help the underserved youth population find employment, improve their job skills, and contribute to the stability of the country instead of to the political tensions,” said Hamoud Abdel Wedoud Kamil, Sr. Education Specialist and Task Team Leader of the project.