Rémy Rioux, Chief Executive Officer of Agence Française de Dévelopement (AFD) and First Lady Clar Weah on Wednesday, November 28, launched the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), a two component initiative aimed at providing enhanced training and employment opportunities for youth.
The YEP, which is Supported by AFD, will be implemented in partnership with the Mercy Corps, a non-governmental organization, and the Felix Houphouet-Boigny National Polytechnic Institute (INP-HB) of Yamoussoukro, La Cote d'Ivoire, thus giving it an important regional dimension.
The first component, the Liberia Employment and Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP), increases employment opportunities and entrepreneurship of Liberian youths.
According to Mercy Corps release, the second component of the project, will comprise a regional system of access to higher technical education within the Mano River Union where students will continue their studies at the INP-HB, an institution that provides top-notch training for technicians and engineers. It is already developing ways to welcome international students from Africa (Guineans, Sierra Leoneans and South Africans).
With a total cost of five million euros, the YEP is expected to ultimately support almost 11,000 young people between the ages of 18 to 35 years (50 percent of them girls) in their careers, providing funding for 15 companies, and grants at least 40 scholarships towards the acquisition of a professional license from the INP-HB.
With regards to the implementation, LEEP relies on the involvement of Youth Opportunity Centers, already supported by Mercy Corps; a partner on this project that will support the setup of additional Youth Centers in Grand Bassa and Margibi Counties.
The project also foresees the creation of a youth investment fund to finance the micro enterprises 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.
The YEP was launched at the Paynesville City Hall.
About AFD in Liberia
From 2012 to 2018, France supported health sector in Liberia with US$3.9 million grant to buy medicines and to finance capacity building of the national drugs suppliers.
In 2018, AFD supported Liberia with two grants: five million euros budget support already fully disbursed, and another five million euros for this youth employment project. During its visit in Liberia, the CEO of AFD was received by the President of Liberia George Weah.
He signed a memorandum of understanding confirming AFD's support to the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development approved by the government for the period 2018-2023.
David A. Yates