WASHINGTON, June 26, 2018—The World Bank approved today $202 million in support of the Government of Ethiopia’s effort to provide more economic opportunities for Ethiopians and refugees in an environmentally and socially sustainable way.
Ethiopia hosts nearly one million refugees mainly from South Sudan, Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia. Recognizing the opportunity to link socio-economic opportunities for refugees with the Ethiopian government’s broader industrialization agenda, the government has pledged to create 100,000 jobs for Ethiopians and refugees. The pledge referred to as the ‘Jobs Compact’ allows for the formal integration of refugees in Ethiopia’s labor market. It is complemented by a broader set of reforms focusing on refugees’ access to legal documentation, improved social services and freedom of movement. At the same time the program will support enhancing private sector investment to create more opportunities and jobs for Ethiopians. Furthermore, refugee-hosting communities will benefit from improved public employment services to assist them in their jobs search and matching.
“The Economic Opportunities Program builds on the government’s commitment toward a more progressive and comprehensive management of refugee populations and supports its strategic approach to move toward longer-term development solutions for refugees, while at the same time expanding the creation of jobs and economic opportunities that will benefit both Ethiopians and refugees,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan.
Specifically, the Economic Opportunities Program promotes refugees’ self-reliance by providing them with economic opportunities in wage earning employment as well as self-employment and the right to engage in commercial activities. Given that the opportunities sought for refugees will need to be created within the context of a developing economy where there are limited opportunities in productive sectors, the program focuses on creating an environment to increase investment and jobs that will also benefit Ethiopians, including by establishing links between international buyers and local suppliers.
The program is aligned with the World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity, the Country Partnership Framework for Ethiopia, as well as the Government of Ethiopia’s development strategy. The Program will be implemented by the Ethiopian Investment Commission.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans 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 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54 percent going to Africa.