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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Japan pledges over USD 10 million for UNIDO projects in Africa and Afghanistan

VIENNA, 14 December 2010 – The Government of Japan will fund UNIDO projects worth a total of over USD 10.6 million in Africa, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Sudan, as well as in Afghanistan.

The projects aim to provide vocational training and equipment for productive activities to help increase employment opportunities and income generation to vulnerable groups, especially those affected by natural disasters.

The partnership was sealed in Vienna today by the Permanent Representative of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna, Ambassador Takeshi Nakane, and UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella.

Yumkella thanked the Government of Japan for its continued support for UNIDO.

Ambassador Nakane stated that this series of contributions shows appreciation and the growing expectation toward UNIDO activities. He also highlighted the critical role UNIDO has played in helping vulnerable groups acquire basic industrial skills for participating in economic activities and income generation, emphasizing that addressing the unstable livelihood of those marginalized is indispensable for poverty reduction and peace-building. As a donor that has continuously supported UNIDO activities in this area, Japan welcomes this strengthened partnership, and expects the newly funded projects to lead to a successful outcome for the people in urgent need on the ground, he said.  

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, poor farmers and rural entrepreneurs will benefit from a USD 1,300,000 project which will support the socioeconomic reintegration of Congolese refugees and the revival of agriculture as a vital economic sector and an important source of income generating activities for vulnerable groups – young people and women. At least one thousand people will receive vocational training in processing specific agro-food products, entrepreneurship and management. A new centre will feature equipment for testing products and food processing, quality control and food safety to ensure compliance with market requirements. Storage facilities will facilitate marketing activities. The project will also support the creation of groupings of enterprises and farmers to ensure the sustainability of commercial activities.

In Eritrea, under a USD 1,000,000 project, UNIDO will help the rural population of the Northern Red Sea region by establishing a variety of viable auxiliary economic activities in agro-industries and the service sector. The focus will be on community organization and empowerment, technology transfer, and improving the technical and business management skills of the most vulnerable people in the project areas, particularly women and the young people.

In Kenya, a USD 1,500,000 project will assist the Government in its efforts to achieve sustainable social and economic development and at the same time conserve forests and the environment, which are threatened by encroaching farmers and displaced people. Training and production centres will be set up in substations of the Kenya Forest Research Institute. The centres will provide vocational skills to the young people within the camps for internally displaced on bamboo crafts, furniture and low-cost bamboo based construction.

In the Awdal, Woqooyi and Sanaag regions of Somalia, up to 900 people, including women, young people and the poorest, many of them living in communities with a high rate of internally displaced, will be trained in new skills to develop cottage industries and help them find employment under a USD 1,200,000 project.

The Transitional Federal Government and the UN Country Team have made it one of their main strategic objectives to allow vulnerable and marginalized displaced groups in Somalia to have better economic opportunities in order to ensure their sustainable food security and promote equitable livelihood and sustainable development.

In Liberia, a project with a total budget of USD 2,000,000 will contribute to strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities in border areas by developing productive skills of the young people. In Ganta, close to the border with Guinea, at least 600 young people will receive on-the-job training in cooperation with local small-scale enterprises, in support of the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The project will provide them with practical skills that are useful in the local small industries such as masonry, metalwork, and plumbing.  In Harper, close to the border with Côte d’Ivoire, the project will establish a practical training facility at the Tubman University, together with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, to train youth in skills related to the processing of rubber and rubber woods, combined with entrepreneurship skills and attitudes. This novel training programme will take advantage of the opportunities arising from surrounding rubber plantation and small-holder rubber tree growers.

In Sierra Leone, three training-cum-production centres in communities along the border with Guinea and Liberia will receive support to expand their facilities, food processing equipment and a photovoltaic solar energy system, in support of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.  Their staff will acquire skills to commercially operate “growth centres”. They will be able to provide training and support to the community members - in particular women and young people - to increase their activities in commercial post-harvest operations.  The project will help strengthen the resilience of agrarian communities in the region.  The total project budget is US$ 2,000,000.  

In Sudan, ex-combatants, refugees and female heads of households will receive basic practical manufacturing skills in various craft sectors, which are essential for the rehabilitation of buildings and infrastructure in a post-conflict, very unstable scenario. The creation of (self-) employment and income generation opportunities for female and male youth is an important step towards stabilizing the fragile peace situation in the region. Also, basic youth education in functional adult literacy and numeracy and social reintegration/counseling will further contribute to the success of the approach.

The 800,000 USD project is building on the experience gained during UNIDO’s Community Livelihood and Rural Industry Support Programme, or CLARIS, which has been successfully implemented since 2004.

In Afghanistan, UNIDO will support the social reintegration of vulnerable people in flood-affected areas in Nangarhar Province, especially IDPs, women, small-scale farmers and former anti-government elements, by providing them with improved skills, tailored income-generating training and improved agricultural technology. The USD 850,000 project was designed to assist the Government of Afghanistan in enhancing stability and economic development.

Nangarhar Province, as one of the most affected by the flooding last summer, remains one of the target provinces of Japanese assistance. Some 1,800 people in flood-affected areas will benefit directly from the activities of the UNIDO project.

For more information on UNIDO, please contact:

Mikhail Evstafyev
UNIDO Advocacy and Communications Coordinator
Telephone: (+43-1) 26026-5021, Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-7329
E-mail