21 May 2019
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African Development Bank (Abidjan)

African Development Bank Commissions Value Chain Study Into Jewelry Manufacturing and Jobs for Women and Youth in Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and the Republic of Guinea

The African Development Bank has commissioned a study into the contribution of the jewelry manufacturing industry and its potential for job creation for women and youth in Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and the Republic of Guinea.

The initial US $1.4-million project, will entail a value chain analysis study examining the sector's contributions to value addition and job creation. It will be financed under the Bank's Transition Support Facility and implemented over 24 months, in coordination with the relevant ministries and agencies in all three countries.

The proposed project aims to create hundreds of jobs in each of the three pilot countries in addition to offering training in cutting, polishing and jewelry manufacturing for women and youth entrepreneurs operating in the jewelry manufacturing value chain.

"The mining industry plays a critical role in many Sub-Saharan African economies and offers great potential for sustainable job creation, private sector development and women's empowerment. However, the resource boom has provided limited opportunities for the local population. With this project, the African Development Bank invests in downstream activities such as jewelry manufacturing, to stimulate local economies, foster inclusive growth and integrate African SMEs into global mineral value chains," Bank Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society, Vanessa Moungar, said.

The overarching goal of the minerals value chain analysis is to address the capacity gaps in jewelry manufacturing and assess its impact on value addition, job creation, and the economic empowerment of youth and women. There is an identified opportunity for jewelry manufacturing in the selected countries to be scaled up through the provision of skills transfer and required technology. The initial study will directly help to address the lack of skills and create a better understanding of adding value in the industry, with the ultimate goal of reducing fragility in all three countries and building resilience.

"Transforming semi-precious minerals and gemstones into jewelry, supported by training for value addition activities, holds the promise of creating more jobs and enhancing the lives of youth and women in the first three targeted African countries of the project," said Cosmas Ochieng, Director of the African Natural Resources Centre.

The study will also explore how to enhance the welfare of the vulnerable groups identified, how to stimulate private-sector growth in the targeted countries, while addressing the issue of illegal migration to the West.

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