WASHINGTON – The World Bank has approved $300 million in financing from the International Development Association (IDA)* to help Benin promote employment and economic opportunities for young people and women through access to technical and vocational education and training and quality entrepreneurship support.
The Vocational Education and Entrepreneurship for Jobs Project aims to help young people and women meet the current and future needs of the labor market. Forty-six thousand current and future students will benefit from higher quality technical and vocational education and training primarily in trade schools. The project also makes provision for technical and vocational education and training teachers and officials by using a more modern personnel training system to enhance and strengthen their professional training, while granting greater autonomy to heads of institutions. In addition, 2,200 entrepreneurs and companies will receive training and funding under the entrepreneurship component. The other downstream beneficiaries also include the comprehensive support ecosystem for entrepreneurship and the private sector. The project will, overall, benefit Benin’s economy by producing better educated and more qualified workers equipped with professional and entrepreneurial skills that are in line with the needs of the labor market.
“Access to decent jobs is becoming increasingly difficult for young graduates whose training often does not match the needs of the labor market. Investment in vocational training and entrepreneurship can help find solutions to unemployment,” says Atou Seck, World Bank Country Manager for Benin. “This financing will help Benin accelerate the government’s ambitious agenda for technical education, vocational training, and entrepreneurship.”
For the 2019-2020 school year, students in public and private technical and vocational training institutions accounted for just 3.8% of all general secondary education students. Administration and management are the preferred areas of study at university and account for over 53 percent of enrollment. To reverse this trend, the government developed the Technical and Vocational Training Strategy (2019-2030) that provides for major investments in the development of the skills of Beninese youth in such sectors as agriculture, industry, and the digital economy.
“Benin has embarked on a development path that will require a narrowing of the gap between training and employment. The government aims to make technical education and vocational training a powerful driver for the structural transformation of the economy and create an enabling entrepreneurship ecosystem,” says Romuald Wadagni, Minister of State and Minister of Economy and Finance of Benin. “More than anything, skills training that matches the market’s current and future needs is necessary if full employment is to be achieved.”
*The International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. Established in 1960, it provides 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 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and have averaged $21 billion over the past three years, with about 61% going to Africa.