DJIBOUTI, May 20, 2015—The World Bank today announced the signing of a US$2.73 million grant for a new employment promotion program for youth and women in Djibouti. The program is expected to reach over 3000 beneficiaries in the poorest areas of Djibouti, providing access to life-skills, livelihood skills training, and access to finance.
A key component of the program consists in helping young people start and grow their own businesses. The program encourages youth to form solidarity groups and offers them peer-to-peer training and coaching to prepare mini-business plans for promising income generating activities. The most viable proposals will also receive funding through the program to help jumpstart the activities.
“Supporting young people to start and grow small businesses requires a comprehensive approach to remove barriers like the lack of professional networks, insufficient skills, and difficulties in accessing finance,” said Homa-Zahra Fotouhi, World Bank Resident Representative in Djibouti. “Through this project, we will give young people the chance to start their own small enterprises in line with local market opportunities.”
The grant also supports the strengthening of the handicraft sector in Djibouti with a particular focus on women.
“Many women in Djibouti already have traditional skills in the handicraft sector,” said Stefanie Brodmann, World Bank Task Team Leader for the program. “The program will leverage these existing skills and foster innovation, product development, and commercialization of local products to make these activities more attractive and viable in the long-term.”
The US$2.73 million grant is from the government of Japan, provided through the Japan Social Development Fund and implemented by the Djibouti Agency for Social Development. By focusing on enhancing long-term income opportunities, the program naturally complements the World Bank’s existing portfolio on social safety nets.
The Djibouti IDA portfolio consists of seven projects with a net commitment of about US$45 million—complemented by Trust Funds of about US$19 million—in a range of sectors, including health, education, social safety nets, energy, disaster risk management, urban development, rural development, and private sector development.