Government of Liberia and World Bank launch US$16 million Youth Employment Skills Initiative

The World Bank and the Government of Liberia (GoL) on Friday, September 17, 2010 launched a US$16 million Youth, Employment, Skills (YES) project in Monrovia. The project aims to contribute to the Government’s national priority to reduce poverty in Liberia by scaling up existing temporary employment programmes, ensuring that they are well grounded in communities, and demonstrating how job-oriented and demand-driven skills development can lead effectively to employment. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf launched the project.

President Sirleaf thanked the World Bank for the record time intervention to address the problem of youth unemployment in Liberia.

She particularly commended the World Bank Managing Director, Ngozi N. Okonjo-Iweala and the Country Manager, Ohene Owusu Nyanin for the time and effort in bringing the project to fruition.

On his part, World Bank Country Manager Ohene said, "The YES Project will address some of the urgent needs of the Liberian people, by helping reduce poverty through immediate short-term job opportunities and by building skills of young people. “The project,” he added, “will drive Liberia into a future where a child can expect to grow up and have the opportunity to achieve, contribute and succeed."

He thanked donors and partners of Liberia for the coordinated effort to help the people of Liberia foster sustainable human development.

The YES initiative will comprise of two components which will focus on 1) bridging the temporary unemployment gap created by the global financial crisis and 2) financing formal and informal skills training programs with the purpose of improving youth employability and employment. It will also support government capacity-building on monitoring and supervision in the area of temporary employment as well as institutional development for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) as relates to certification, policy development, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) project management, and impact assessment.

The project will be implemented by the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE) and UN/GoL Joint Program for Youth Employment and Empowerment.Funding for the YES initiative consists of US$6 million from the International Development Association (IDA) Crisis Response Window (CRW) and a US$10 million grant from the Africa Catalytic Growth Fund, both efforts contributing to job creation and employment opportunities for Liberian youth.