World Bank in $60 million project to tackle unemployment in Tunisia
The World Bank has announced a new $60 million project to help address the jobs challenge in Tunisia, with support for government efforts to better target employment programs and create more and better opportunities.
The Tunisia Youth Economic Inclusion Project called Moubadiroun (or ‘Initiator’) will focus on disadvantaged young men and women while investing in entrepreneurs and businesses to promote growth and job creation.
The Tunisian government has launched a new integrated and inclusive approach to expanding economic opportunities. The aim of the initiative is to move away from large, untargeted jobs programs to tailored services that address the specific social and economic obstacles that put good jobs out of reach for young men and women.
In tandem, a goal of the new initiative is to create more and better opportunities by supporting the businesses and entrepreneurs that are the engines of job creation. The new project announced today will fund the initiative’s dual approach, targeting disadvantaged men and women aged 18 to 35, in the Center West, North West, the South, Sfax and the marginalized governorate of Greater Tunis, Manouba..
“The project provides a unique opportunity to tie together what we call the demand and the supply sides of job strategies,” said Tony Verheijen, World Bank Country Manager for Tunisia, “Along with reaching out to the most discouraged and disadvantaged youth with targeted services, we also need to focus on making sure there are opportunities for them by creating the right conditions and incentives for entrepreneurs and businesses to grow and create jobs.”
The project will provide tailored support services to address the barriers preventing young people from accessing jobs or moving to higher quality jobs. The project also aims to identify potential micro-entrepreneurs to support with a package of business development and financing.
To boost the participation of young women, the project will adopt several strategies to address their specific disadvantages. Along with resources to overcome the domestic responsibilities that hold women back, such as support for childcare and care for elderly relatives, the project will also target the beliefs and attitudes that can keep women out of the the workplace, with funding for campaigns aimed at families, communities, and potential employers.
“To address the demand side of employment, the project will focus on identifying and developing value chains that have significant potential for job creation,” said Mohamed Hisham El-Shiaty, World Bank Group Senior Private Sector Specialist and Co-Manager of the project. “Linking businesses in the interior with established national and international markets will promote private sector development, drive growth and create more and better jobs along the entire value chain.”
The project will support the development of value chains in the targeted regions by providing investments and expertise to help new and existing firms reorient their products to meet demands in national and international markets.
At the same time, the project will support eliminating barriers preventing firms from reaching those markets, and invest in common services to make firms more competitive. To ensure that the two approaches work together, specific incentives will be put in place to encourage those growing firms to hire the disadvantaged youth targeted by the project.
“Tunisia is trying to introduce a new system, which we are committed to supporting, that will bring hope and sustainable opportunities to young people, especially women and the most disadvantaged,”,” said Carine Clert, World Bank Lead Social Protection and Jobs Specialist and co-manager of the project.
“Equally important, the project will provide capacity-building opportunities for decision-makers and practitioners, which will promote innovation and institutional coordination across different government agencies for more effective policy implementation.”
To ensure transparency and good governance, beneficiaries of the project will be able to provide feedback on service providers through a score card mechanism. The Ministry of Vocational Training and Employment will oversee the project, guided by a National Strategic Steering Committee composed of high-level officials from key social and productive ministries (Industry, Social Affairs, Youth, Women and Family).
Regional Committees will be established at the governorate level to ensure effective implementation and will function as public-private platforms bringing together local officials, the private sector, and relevant civil society groups.