— Wants at least 2,000 Liberian youths trained in the fields of electricity, construction, agriculture and coding
The Government of Liberia, represented by the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel D. Tweah Jr., and the Agence Française de Development (AFD), represented by France Ambassador Terence Wills, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, signed a 10 million Euros grant agreement to support Liberia’s National Technical Vocational and Education Training (TVET) Policy.
The project aims to promote the socio-vocational integration of young people in Liberia; in the economic sectors which bear the promise of growth and employment, and will develop new economic opportunities in rural areas.
The project is aligned with the priorities of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) of the Government and will support the implementation of the national TVET strategy.
Finance and Development Planning Minister Tweah, who congratulated the People of the Republic of France on their historic celebration of the French Revolution, known as Bastille Day, praised French Ambassador Terence Wills for being a “champion of practical development” in Liberia over the years. He also lauded the Government of France for its support to Liberia, especially the budget contribution.
Tweah explained that youth employability in Liberia and Africa should be taken to a new level because the rate at which young people in Africa were entering the job market was not sustainable due to the fact that the formal sector cannot absorb everyone, instead the focus is needed in the informal sector.
Also, he says, the rate at which the economy in Africa is moving should take into consideration the informal sector where young people will get the right skills. He added that job creation in the informal sector will absorb most of the young people.
“There are a number of programs funded by the EU and this TVET signing today by the Government of France through the AFD is another support from the French people,” Minister Tweah stated. “The key challenge now is how we make these programs work for the young people and how can these programs adapt to the circumstances of the young people, is critical.”
He told the French ambassador that the cardinal issue is about how the country delivers, adapts, changes, and evaluates projects initiated by partners, adding that the TVET program will contribute to reducing the vulnerability of young people by giving them skills and creating jobs.
He, however, expressed the need to provide high-quality training for young people and said that TVET institutions need to be capacitated, as well as focusing on how TVET is being delivered and monitored.
For his part, Ambassador Wills said the signing of the grant will support Liberia’s National TVET Policy by ensuring that over 2,000 youths are trained in electricity, reconstruction, agriculture, and by supporting six vocational training centers to develop agriculture through fish farming and vegetable gardening.
Ambassador Wills stated that it is important to connect the TVET with the private sector to ensure that young people get jobs after training, stating that the program is now the second generation of the TVET program.
The French Ambassador disclosed that Minister Tweah’s dissatisfaction about programs initiated by partners, which has led to young people not getting jobs after training, will be addressed through this Second Generation TVET program.
“Minister Tweah has been straightforward about how many youths couldn’t find jobs after the training; we want the program to be successful, very complete, so we want 200 new electricians to be trained; we want young people to look at agriculture as a smart activity that creates revenue,” said Ambassador Wills.
He expressed optimism that the Institute European de Cooperation de Development (IECD) will fit into government policy to diversify the economy because Liberia imports all its consumable goods. Through the program, the IECD will help to process resources, add value and create jobs for the youths.
The program will be developed by IECD in close collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Education, to support TVET policy to develop income generation in the agriculture sector for the next 5 years. It will also serve the development of sustainable income generation in the agriculture sector through fish farming, vegetable gardening, beginning in September 2020.