WASHINGTON, May 23, 2013 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a credit of US$50 million to help Burkina Faso fight poverty and increase social stability by giving unemployed or underemployed young people opportunities for temporary work and skills training.
The Burkina Faso Youth Employment and Skills Development project will directly benefit over 46,000 young people, some of whom now live in the two main cities of Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso, where the unemployment rate is currently very high at 20 percent, as well as in other regional capitals.
“In training young people, this project directly addresses Burkina Faso’s severe skills shortage, which is holding back economic progress at the moment,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Manager for Burkina Faso. “Building skills in the labor force is a prerequisite for the country to be able to diversify its economy, reduce dependence on just one or two sectors, and ultimately achieve the kind of strong and steady economic growth that will benefit all citizens and boost widespread prosperity.”
Financed by the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA*), this project will focus on youth who have little or no education and are currently out of work. The various activities covered under the project include public works jobs such as building roads, apprenticeships in both rural and urban trades, construction of vocational training centers, and training and support for young entrepreneurs.
“Bringing work opportunities and skills training to the young people of Burkina Faso is very much in line with the government’s strategy for accelerated growth and sustainable development. Through this project, thousands of aspiring young men and women from vulnerable families will be able to find a way out of poverty,” said Hamoud Abdel Wedoud Kamil, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 82 poorest countries, 40 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.