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Mercy Corps launches youth employment project

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Mercy Corps-Liberia, one of the major non-governmental organizations (NGO) operating in the social financial services sector, launches youth employment project for young people in the country.

The project, according to Mercy Corps, is being implemented in partnership with the Felix Houphouet-Boigny National Polytechnic Institute (INP-HB) of Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast thus, giving it an important regional dimension.

Speaking to reporters following the official launching at the Paynesville City Hall in Paynesville over the weekend, Mercy Corps Chief Executive Officer Simon O’Connell explains the first component, the Liberia Employment and Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP), increases the employability and entrepreneurship of Liberian youths to facilitate their access to employment.

Mr. O’ Connell explains further that the second component will experience regional system of access to higher technical education within the Mano River Union.

Liberian students will continue their studies at the INP-HB, an institution that provides top-notch training for technicians and engineers; and is already developing ways to welcome international students from Africa (Guineans, Sierra Leoneans and South Africans).

he says with a total cost of 5 million Euros, the Youth Employment Project should ultimately help to support almost 11,000 young people (from 18 to 35 years, 50 percent being girls) in their career, providing funding for15 companies and grant at least 40 scholarships towards the acquisition of a professional license from the INP-HB.

The Mercy Corps CEO notes that with regards to the implementation, LEEP relies on the involvement of Youth Opportunity Centers that are already supported by Mercy Corps, a partner on this project.

He says the project also foresees creation of a youth investment fund to finance microenterprises of the beneficiaries (after a competitive selection) and the establishment of partnerships with existing incubators to make available a seed fund, providing start-up capital for innovative initiatives led by the private sector.

For his part, the Chief Executive Officer for Agence Francaise de Development or (AFD) Remy Rioux says his organization as part of its effort began working in Liberia from 2012 to 2018, where he says France supported the health sector in Liberia with 3.9 million USD grant to buy medicines and to finance capacity building of the National Drugs Suppliers or service.

According to Mr. Rioux, AFD will support Liberia with two grants: a 5 million euro budget support already fully disbursed and another 5 million euros for the youth employment project.

The AFD boss continues that one of the main focuses of AFD’s contribution will be to strengthen job creation. To this end, AFD Group will next year grant a new 10 million euros in the youth employment sector and consider potential projects in other sectors, including private sector financing through its subsidiary Proparco.

By Lewis S. Teh

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