Africa: World Bank and Unicef Partner to Promote Education, Skills and Training for Young People

Washington — The World Bank and UNICEF announced a new commitment to promote education, skills and training for young people in developing countries with the goal of boosting their employment prospects.

The partnership will align $1 billion in World Bank investments with Generation Unlimited, a new global initiative, currently hosted by UNICEF. The investments are also an important component of the World Bank Group's Human Capital Project, which is mobilizing countries to deliver more effective investments in people - especially young people - as a key pathway to jobs in today's changing world of work.

Launched just over six months ago, Generation Unlimited aims to help prepare the world's 1.8 billion young people for the transition to work and engaged citizenship, by connecting secondary-age education and training to employment and entrepreneurship. This is the largest cohort of young people in history, but many of them are the victims of a global education and training crisis so they are not equipped to enter the work place.

"As millions of young people enter the workforce in developing countries, it matters to them and to the whole world that they can find decent jobs," said Kristalina Georgieva, Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank. "With the right skills and the right opportunities, young people can drive global growth and prosperity, but we cannot take this for granted. We must work together to invest in education, training, jobs and entrepreneurship so they can reach their potential."

Research shows that roughly a third of today's young people -- some 620 million youths, most of them women -- are not employed or engaged in education or training. Young people are almost three times as likely as adults to be unemployed. Without decent jobs and the dignity of work, millions of them will be shut out of global progress toward growth, prosperity and stability.

"Let's increase investment in young people now, by transforming education systems and scaling up skills training. We need to open up opportunities to the futures of millions of young people," said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. "Through this World Bank and UNICEF collaboration, Generation Unlimited can help support this transformation and create a skilled cohort of young people better prepared to form flourishing economies and peaceful and prosperous societies."

At the core of the partnership is connecting secondary-age education and training to employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, so that young people can succeed in a changing world. The World Bank's financial commitment is expected to focus on:

Accelerating curriculum changes in formal education so that skills and knowledge align with workplace demands;

Improving access to skills programs outside of formal education, including in crisis situations and areas prone to humanitarian emergencies;

Stepping up efforts to match job-seekers with employment and entrepreneurship opportunities; and

Equipping young people with the flexibility and problem-solving skills they will need to succeed as engaged citizens in the new world of work.

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