The World Bank on Friday approved a 75 million US dollar grant intended to help the Mozambican government empower young people.
According to a World Bank press release, the money will support the government’s efforts “to realise its demographic dividend by increasing empowerment, access to education, and employment opportunities for youth, especially adolescent girls and young women”.
“I’m pleased to note that our work in this important area has come to fruition with the approval of this project,” declared Mark Lundell, the World Bank Country Director for Mozambique. “Empowering, educating and employing its growing working age population, along with addressing its high fertility rate, are among Mozambique’s most pressing challenges, and this project provides much-needed support in addressing just that”.
The bank notes that “Mozambique has one of the highest fertility rates in Sub-Saharan Africa, with early marriage and adolescent pregnancy rates among the highest in the world. The very young age structure of its population can either exacerbate poverty or enhance prosperity”.
But the reality, the Bank admits, is that “despite the country’s efforts in decreasing poverty, the total number of people living in poverty has grown. Because fertility is higher among the poor, poverty and inequality across generations can worsen.”
World Bank senior economist Francisco Campos, who was the project’s co-team leader, said “It will be important for Mozambique to accelerate its demographic transition, while making efforts to educate and employ its working age population to boost inclusive growth and poverty reduction.”
He added that “adolescent girls and young women, especially vulnerable ones, represent a key population group to realise the promise of the demographic dividend”.
The project is intended “to empower individuals, families and communities by providing information on sexual and reproductive health services”. It will address “social norms that keep girls and women out of school and work”.
It will also “educate adolescents by addressing bottlenecks in girls’ educational enrolment, attendance, and attainment”, and “increase employment opportunities for the current and future generations through business plan competitions and skills development programmes”.
“We are taking a holistic approach to this unique challenge by addressing inter-related social and economic constraints, including the underlying market and institutional failures that lead to high fertility rates, disempowerment among low-income girls, low investments in education and health, and low-productive employment,” said the project team leader, Indhira Santos.
The grant comes from the International Development Association (IDA), the member of the World Bank group which provides grants and soft loans for the world’s poorest countries for projects and programs that boost economic growth and reduce poverty.
Source: AIM via Club of Mozambique