Guinea: World Bank funding to boost access to jobs for young people and improve food security through smart agriculture investment

September 30, 2014

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved two International Development Association (IDA*) grants to Guinea today, the first of which will improve training programs and access to job opportunities for young people. The second will help ensure that government institutions have the capacity to help promote food security through smart agricultural reforms and investments.

While Guinea has made progress in terms of economic growth, millions of people are yet to find a way out of poverty and the current Ebola crisis has created a larger threat,” said, Ousmane Diagana, World Bank Country Director for Guinea. “Providing market-relevant skills and employment for young people and engaging in reforms in agriculture to boost food security for the poorest population is imperative to counter the potential economic growth implications of the current Ebola crisis.”

In line with the government’s effort to boost productivity and higher earnings for the entire population, the US$20 million Guinea Stepping Up Skills Project will focus on advancing the skills of young people, including the large number of unemployed graduates, through relevant vocational/professional programs and practical work experience to meet the demand of the private sector.

“There is a skills mismatch due to an oversupply of youth pursuing programs in the humanities and a lack of practical training opportunities. Training institutions and employers have little interaction, and youth are not aware of job openings unless they have informal connections creating additional challenges.” said, Nathalie Lahire, World Bank Task Team Leader for the Stepping Up Skills Project. “This project will bridge the gap between necessary jobs’ skills and opportunities for employment.”

The project will help introduce new 2-3 year technical programs adhering to international certification and that align with the labor market needs through a competitive fund. With the recent Ebola outbreak, there is an urgent need for health workers with skills in epidemiology to monitor and prevent future outbreaks as well as research and identify ways of treating the disease from the ground. The project is an opportunity for institutions to submit joint proposals with the private sector and international institutions to contribute to filling this critical skills gap.

The US$15 million Agricultural Sector Support Project will strengthen selected government ministries, the Chamber of Agriculture and other relevant entities, as well as provide targeted analytical support to implement Guinea’s Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plan (PNIASA). The project will contribute to reinforce planning capacity, budgeting and management of selected institutions.

“We are happy to support the Government of Guinea in their efforts to focus and reallocate more public expenditures to the Agriculture sector in order to promote development and shared prosperity,” said Amadou Alassane, the World Bank Task Team Leader of the project. “Overall the project will help increase agricultural production and contribute to food and nutrition security while safeguarding social protection employment in rural areas.

In addition, it will contribute to creating adequate capacity to monitor, evaluate, and report progress in the agricultural sector. The focus on capacity building of key sector institutions will strengthen the government’s response and ability to efficiently manage the post-Ebola rehabilitation efforts.

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing zero-interest loans 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 $16 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa

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