WASHINGTON, April 30, 2014 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved further support to Mauritania as the country continues to experience strong economic growth and seeks to prepare more young people for jobs through better technical and vocational education and training (TVET).
The US$11.3 million IDA* grant for the ongoing Mauritania Skills Development Support Project will double the number of youth benefiting from skills development programs every year by 2016, and reach a total of nearly 16,000 young people trained through either apprenticeships or TVET institutions.
“Nearly six out of ten young Mauritanians enter the labor market without the skills to succeed, leading to unemployment or low productivity among youth on the one hand and a major skills gap on the other, as employers struggle to find trained human resources,” said Moctar Thiam, World Bank Country Manager for Mauritania. “The Skills Development Support Project is helping to bridge this gap and to ensure that more young people are equipped with skills that are in demand in Mauritania’s growing economy.”
The new grant will expand the project’s efforts to improve TVET efficiency through the scaling up of performance-based contracts and a number of measures to reduce the average cost per student—including increasing access to lower-cost apprenticeship programs— while simultaneously improving program quality and relevance and establishing a stronger link to the needs of the private sector.
Mauritania is taking these steps because there were only about 1800 graduates from TVET institutions in 2012, and 50 percent of these graduates remain unemployed despite rising demand for trained human resources in sectors such as tourism and construction. Also, apprenticeship programs are currently inadequate in the face of an estimated 350,000 out-of-school and unemployed youth looking for work.
“The project is in line with the Government of Mauritania’s prioritization of skills as outlined in its TVET Sector Plan for 2010-2020,” said Geraldo Martins, World Bank task team leader for the project. “In addition, it supports the improvement of public sector performance, which is a key pillar of the World Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy for Mauritania, and will help support the country’s economic growth.”
* 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.