WASHINGTON, February 14, 2020 — The World Bank approved today a $75 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA) in support of the Government of Mozambique’s efforts to realize its demographic dividend by increasing empowerment, access to education, and employment opportunities for youth, especially adolescent girls and young women.
“I’m pleased to note that our work in this important area has come to fruition with the approval of this project,” noted Mark Lundell, World Bank Country Director for Mozambique. “Empowering, educating and employing its growing working age population, along with addressing its high fertility rate, are among Mozambique’s most pressing challenges, and this project provides a much-needed support in addressing just that.”
Mozambique has one of the highest fertility rates in Sub-Saharan Africa, with early marriage and adolescent pregnancy rates among the highest in the world. The very young age structure of its population can either exacerbate poverty or enhance prosperity. In fact, despite the country’s efforts in decreasing poverty, the total number of people living in poverty has grown. Because fertility is higher among the poor, poverty and inequality across generations can worsen.“It will be important for Mozambique to accelerate its demographic transition while making efforts to educate and employ its working age population to boost inclusive growth and poverty reduction,” said Francisco Campos, Senior Economist and the project’s co-team leader.”Adolescent girls and young women, especially vulnerable ones, represent a key population group to realize the promise of the demographic dividend.”
The project funding and activities will contribute to the following: a)- empower individuals, families and communities by providing information on sexual and reproductive health services as well as gender-based violence support services; by addressing social norms that keep girls and women out of school and work; and by providing life skills support to adolescents, especially girls; b)- educate adolescents by addressing bottlenecks in girls educational enrollment, attendance, and attainment; and c)- increase employment opportunities for the current and future generations through business plan competitions and skills development programs. This will be done by supplying services to increase productivity of informal workers, as well as by supporting entrepreneurship activities with potential for job creation.
“We are taking a holistic approach to this unique challenge by addressing inter-related social and economic constraints, including the underlying market and institutional failures that lead to high fertility rates, disempowerment among low-income girls, low investments in education and health, and low-productive employment,” noted Indhira Santos, Senior Economist and the project’s task team leader.
Additionally, the project will contribute to a better articulation and coordination of youth policies within government agencies, and between the government and its stakeholders, as well as fund capacity building programs for Mozambican institutions. This project is in full alignment with the Bank’s ongoing 2017-21 strategy, known as Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Mozambique, by supporting the strategy’s key priorities such as investing in human capital, as well as its cross-cutting goals on gender equity.
* 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 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa.