At the launch of a Youth Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Project (YEEP) in Kakata, Margibi County, it was revealed that Liberia is benefiting from US$350 million support projects by the African Development Bank, making it one of the support partners to the country's post-war rejuvenation initiatives.
Vice President Joseph Boakai on behalf of government launched the project aimed to provide employment opportunities to over three thousands youths.
While making remarks, Dr. Margret Hilda Kilo, ADB's Resident Representative to Liberia shed light on the bank's involvement with Liberia and support to the YEEP.
"The Bank currently has 13 active projects in Liberia with a total commitment of USD350 million in support of agriculture, water and sanitation, transport, governance, institutional support and the private sector," Dr. Kilo emphasized, and stressed that the projects are at various stages of implementation.
The objective of the ABD is to promote sustainable economic and social development in regional member countries, she noted, adding that the objective is achieved through various facilities availed to both private and public sectors.
The ADB, according to her, has five development priorities otherwise referred to as "High 5s" which include Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
Dr. Kilo indicated that the Launch of the Youth Employment Entrepreneurship Project (YEEP) is a link of one of the High 5s, Quality of Life for the People of Africa.
"The Liberia Youth Employment and Entrepreneur Project, amounting to US2.3 million, aims to contribute towards youth employment in Liberia," she told the gathering of youths mainly drawn from Margibi County.
The government of Liberia is supporting the project financed by the ABD's Fund for Africa Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) which supports implementation of the bank's private sector development strategy.
It is done through provision of technical assistance to complement the Bank's financing operations. "Creating employment and awakening entrepreneurial potential among the youth is critical to sustaining the peace Liberia currently enjoys," Madam Kilo pointed out, saying "ADB hopes this project will build on efforts that are already being undertaken by the government of Liberia in promoting youth entrepreneurship."
According to her, youths are vital driving force to economic growth especially in Liberia where 75% of the population is youth below 35 years. "But this growth cannot be achieved with an employable youth population or a youth that lacks entrepreneurial capabilities," she said, adding that supporting youth in Africa is a key priority for the Bank.
The ADB, Dr. Kilo noted, is planning to create 25 million jobs and equip 50 million youths across the continent by 2025. "The project we are launching today will support the Agenda for Transformation's Economic Transformation and Human Development Pillar, thereby contributing to sustained growth, poverty reduction and shared prosperity for Liberia, the ADB resident representative said.
While reaffirming the Bank's commitment and availability, she said implementing the project requires effective leadership from the implementing ministry led by the Ministry of Youths & Sport.