22 May 2014

Guinea Bissau: World Bank Helps Guinea-Bissau Expand Agriculture Sector, Create Job Opportunities for Youth

Photo: Anna Jefferys/IRIN
Rice farmers preparing a field in central Guinea-Bissau.
press release

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved an US$8.2 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA)* to help Guinea-Bissau create jobs and combat food insecurity and poverty by expanding the country's cashew agribusiness, increasing the supply of rice production, and supporting entrepreneurship in other sectors of the economy.

Today's IDA credit supports the Private Sector Rehabilitation and Agribusiness Development Project, and aims to boost economic growth while enhancing shared prosperity.

"Guinea-Bissau once supplied neighboring countries with rice and is the third largest producer of cashew in the world" said Vera Songwe, World Bank Country Director for Guinea-Bissau.

"By focusing on the key gaps inhibiting growth in agribusiness, today's project will help to rebuild the sector's potential, stimulate growth, and enable smallholder farmers to raise their incomes and yields, while also creating jobs for young people and raising incomes for women."

Cashew is the country's most important agricultural product and is grown by close to 55 percent of all farming households.

The project will help expand the cashew industry with pilot programs to boost farmers' productivity and improve cashew production practices, and will support new local storage facilities to strengthen the bargaining power of cashew producers.

Boosting rice production with activities such as providing inputs to increase rice yields will help diversify the country's agriculture sector, improving food security and reducing poverty.

Over half - about 60 percent - of Guinea-Bissau's population is under 25 years old and most youth are unemployed. To help jumpstart the country's economy, today's project aims to equip budding entrepreneurs in Guinea-Bissau with seed capital and managerial skills in order to launch sustainable new business ideas.

These resources will be allocated through a business plan competition that will provide some 200 participants with intensive training in business planning and development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

"Activities focused on shoring up the cashew industry and expanding rice production, combined with creating opportunities for young entrepreneurs to learn business skills, obtain access to credit and launch new businesses, will help protect farmer's from external shocks, create jobs, and help reduce poverty for Guinea-Bissau's many poor families," said Francisco Campos, World Bank Task Team Leader for this Project.

"We look forward to the successful implementation of this project, which will go a long way towards reducing the risks of social instability throughout Guinea-Bissau," said Aniceto Bila, World Bank Co-Task Team Leader for this Project.

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