Additional Financing To Support 10,000 Vulnerable Youth In Rural Liberia

MONROVIA, April 18, 2019 – The World Bank and the Liberian Government have signed the Youth Opportunities Project (YOP) Additional Financing (AF) Grant Agreement of US$1.5 million to provide additional support to youth under the Productive Public Works component of the YOP. It will also strengthen various aspects of project implementation, including monitoring and evaluation.World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Dr. Henry Kerali and Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Hon. Samuel Tweah, signed the Agreement in Washington, DC, during the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund. The signing ceremonies were attended by members of the Liberian Government delegation and the World Bank Country Manager for Liberia Larisa Leshchenko.

This AF is the first tranche of US$3.5 million provided by the Swedish Government through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). This funding aims at supporting the harmonized approach to youth agenda through a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MTDF) on “Improving Access to Income Generation Opportunities for Youth”. The YOP is being implemented by ministries of Youth and Sports and Gender, Children and Social Protection, including Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE).

This Additional Financing will help address critical gaps in financing for the project to achieve its development objectives and will deepen the impact of interventions in rural areas, which were particularly affected by the economic downturn following the Ebola Virus Disease crisis. Given the success of the original YOP, the Swedish Government committed to support the project with an additional financing of US$3.5 million.

To help improve labor market outcomes of youth and labor productivity in Liberia, the World Bank Board approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit of US$10 million on November 6, 2015 to support the implementation of the Youth Opportunities Project (YOP). The project aims to improve access to income generation opportunities for youth and strengthen the government’s capacity to implement its cash transfer program, with a target of reaching 15,000 poor and vulnerable young people by December 31, 2020. At least 50 percent of beneficiaries will be female.

Since January 2017, the project enrolled over 8,000 beneficiaries, over 7,000 of whom are youth living in hard-to-reach rural areas in Liberia. Through its Productive Public Works component, the project has so far helped create 258 youth-led farms in all 15 counties. The youth in urban areas under the Support to Household enterprises have set up 99 small businesses in the greater Monrovia area. Youth who are entering the labor market (15-17 years old) in urban areas will also benefit from job-readiness training and psychosocial support. Finally, YOP supported technical assistance to help lay the foundation for an effective social protection delivery system with the design of Liberia’s Household Social Registry.

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.3 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $19 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.

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