The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on Friday, November 6, approved a new US$10 million International Development Association (IDA)* credit for the Government of Liberia to improve access to income generation opportunities for targeted youth. This financing will also provide support for strengthening the government's capacity to implement its cash transfer program.
The Liberia Youth Opportunities Project (YOP) directly targets about 15,000 youth aged 15-35 years, 50 percent of whom are vulnerable female youth who will benefit from the household enterprise and productive public works components in urban and rural areas. The project also benefits extremely poor and Ebola-affected households by supporting the development of a safety net system, including the development of management information, electronic registration, and payment systems to complement the Emergency Ebola Response Project.
"This project supports the basic building blocks of a social protection system that increases resilience of the poorest and most vulnerable households and groups to cope with future shocks by engaging in productive employment," said Inguna Dobraja, World Bank Liberia Country Manager for Liberia. "This is entrenched in Liberia's Agenda for Transformation Human Development Pillar which emphasizes the promotion of shared and equitable economic growth in Liberia."
The project will provide apprenticeships to vulnerable youth in urban areas and support agricultural transformation and value chain addition using productive public works and Community-Driven Development approaches particularly for youth in rural areas. To mitigate the impact of future shocks, the project will also improve efficiency in the delivery of cash transfers to targeted households, including to youth. The YOP activities will be implemented in close cooperation with the private sector.
Suleiman Namara, Task Team Leader for the YOP said, "we recognize that rural and urban youth have different employment constraints and therefore the project is designed to address specific needs of different cohorts of youth, with a focus on pre-employment and life skills activities to strengthen youth participation in the labor market."
As part of measures to ensure that results are achieved, the project emphasizes corruption prevention and grievance redress mechanisms. The project will therefore engage independent anti-corruption institutions and civil society in third-party monitoring of project implementation and benchmarks.
The World Bank Group will continue to work closely with Liberia and its development partners to support the global Ebola response and post-Ebola recovery efforts in the country.
* The World Bank's International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, and 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 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.8 billion people, the majority of whom live on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.