Japan contributes 5 million US Dollars

Japan contributes 5 million US Dollars

Vienna, 19 March 2008 - Japan contributes 5 million US Dollars to multi-stakeholder UNIDO project on youth employment in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire

This item was adapted from a UNIDO press release. A pdf version of the press release is available here.

The Government of Japan has contributed 5 million US Dollars to UNIDO for a multi-stakeholder Programme to be implemented under the banner Productive and Decent Work for Youth in the Mano River Union (MRU) countries (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone) and Côte d’Ivoire.

The international community pays a great deal of attention to ensuring peace and stability in West Africa. The general strike in Guinea in January 2007 and the resulting casualties prompted the proclamation of martial law. UN Peacekeeping missions have been deployed in Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia. The UN Peacebuilding Commission, of which Japan has been Chair since June 2007, selected Sierra Leone as a target country and identified youth employment as a priority area for peace-building in the country.

The MRU countries and Côte d’Ivoire are examples of the dangers of high youth unemployment and how severely this can affect sub-regional security. This region is undermined by youth unemployment, with one survey suggesting that youth unemployment rates run as high as 88% in Liberia and 60-70% in Sierra Leone, a factor that is only further compounded by the difficulties faced in obtaining accurate and up-to-date census data.

The multi-agency programme aims to create employment opportunities for youth in the MRU countries and Côte d’Ivoire, and to contribute to social and political stability, and economic growth in the region.
Towards a Vibrant Africa: A Continent of Hope and Opportunity 28–30 May 2008  
The programme directly addresses the needs of youth by linking opportunities in transnational corporations and private companies. It assists and trains youth in identifying, designing, and implementing projects in self-employment and group activities, establishes a financing facility for youth-led projects in partnership with local banks and financial institutions, and trains youth in various skills such as mining, forestry, agriculture, agro-industries, and construction. The programme will also set up a sub-regional information system on supply and demand of the labour market, as well as a programme management system, which includes monitoring, learning lessons, public relations and an Information, Communication and Technology network.

The Government of Japan has welcomed this programme as one of the forms of UNIDO cooperation built into the framework of the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV), to be held in Yokohama, Japan, from 28–30 May 2008, under the theme Towards a Vibrant Africa: A Continent of Hope and Opportunity. UNIDO has expressed its full commitment to the success of the conference. UNIDO Director-General, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, indicated the tremendous importance of cooperation between UNIDO and Japan on his first visit to the country in March 2006, followed by his second visit in October 2007. He is expected to participate actively in the conference.

Many African countries have been experiencing relatively high economic growth rates. Taking advantage of the tide of economic growth, the Government of Japan hopes that UNIDO, through this programme, will contribute to giving hope and opportunity to the youth in MRU countries and Côte d’Ivoire.