Japan works with UNIDO to boost youth employability in Iraq
BAGHDAD, 20 April 2018 - The Government of Japan has announced that it will fund a project to enhance youth employability among Syrian refugees, internally displaced persons and host communities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. This is one of eight new projects implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Liberia, Nigeria, Somalia and the Syrian Arab Republic, with Japanese funding totaling US$5.2m.
The project in Iraq will introduce entrepreneurship training, including soft skills and technical training, at vocational secondary schools with a focus on industry, trade and agriculture. In cooperation with local youth organizations, the project also provides business support to youth-led businesses and social enterprises. By strengthening youth-led entrepreneurial development, the project aims to increase the employability of the upcoming generation within the host community, refugees and internally displaced persons.
Fumio Iwai, Ambassador of Japan to Iraq, stated, “It is four years now since Japan, through its Supplementary Budget, started the assistance for vulnerable Iraqi and Syrian people affected by conflict connected to the ISIL. This assistance shows Japan’s strong and faithful commitment to addressing the basic needs in the camps and the areas of return in Iraq.”
He added, “The assistance to UNIDO comes as part of the new package of humanitarian and stabilization efforts to Iraq, amounting to approximately $100 million, announced in February. Japan is determined to serve displaced persons, returnees, refugees and host communities in Iraq, while supporting Iraq’s efforts for its development.”
Speaking at the kick-off event held on 28 March at UNIDO headquarters in Vienna, during which the eight projects and the funding from the Government of Japan were announced, UNIDO Director General, LI Yong, highlighted that the projects aim to strengthen the humanitarian-development nexus and promote inclusive and sustainable industrial development by taking a human security approach.
Ambassador Mitsuru Kitano, the Permanent Representative of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna, stated that the projects will “help individuals to live under healthy conditions, consolidate their livelihoods and, with all of this, gain optimism for their future.”
The Kurdistan Region of Iraq has a young and growing population with more than 50% aged under 20. As this young population reaches working age, it is estimated that over the next 20 years between 850,000 and 1.1 million new workers will enter the labour market. The unemployment rate currently stands at 24% for men and 69% for women in the region. The project aims to shift the focus from emergency livelihood support to generating sustained employment and livelihood opportunities for Syrian refugees, internally displaced persons and host communities in the region.
For further information, please contact:
Industrial Development Officer, UNIDO