Liberia

Liberia: UN-backed jobs project jumpstarts economic growth

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The United Nations is working with the Government of Liberia on a project that has so far generated some 21,000 jobs in the country, where employment is considered vital to consolidating stability.

Both skilled and unskilled workers, more than a quarter of whom are women, are repairing major roads, removing garbage, cleaning drainage systems and carrying out other tasks under the initiative, which is being led by the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in partnership with other UN agencies.

With an 80 per cent unemployment rate in Liberia, job creation is widely considered one of the biggest obstacles the Government faces.

This "employment is fundamental in building a solid path towards sustainable peace as it offers an alternative to war and fosters hope for people who are currently emerging from a dark history of conflict," said Andrea Tamagnini, Director of UNMIL's Reintegration, Rehabilitation and Recovery Section.

Some of the jobs, such as one project to crush stone to fix roads, are intended for young people, especially in areas outside the capital where unemployment levels are highest. Special efforts are made to create positions for people affected by war and those who are most vulnerable, UNMIL said.

"People need to work, now and in the future," Mr. Tamagnini said. "One formula to address this problem is creating short-term emergency employment programmes immediately and further exploring ways to make these sustainable while the country slowly recovers from conflict."

Working with UNMIL on the project are the World Bank, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Liberian Ministry of Public Works.