Japan demonstrates strong support for UNIDO projects in Africa, Middle East
The Government of Japan has provided a contribution of over USD 7.4 million in response to the needs of communities affected by humanitarian crises and the influx of displaced peoples. The funding supports seven projects implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Africa and the Middle East.
This was announced last Friday at a meeting between LI Yong, the Director General of UNIDO, and Ambassador Mitsuru Kitano, the Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations Organizations in Vienna, in the presence of representatives from Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan.
Ambassador Kitano stressed the importance of the triangular relationship between Japan, UNIDO and recipient countries, and the hope that the contribution by the Government of Japan would be to the benefit of partner countries, particularly young people and women. He appreciated UNIDO's focus on inclusiveness in its programmatic activities, and highlighted the prospect of collaboration with the Japanese private sector. He concluded that Japan looked forward to further cooperation with the Organization in these areas, in line with the priorities of the Government of Japan.
In Iraq, USD 1.5 million will help assist the government in addressing the needs of host communities, internally displaced persons and returnees in the central and northern parts of the country. The project will support income generating activities; restore micro- and small scale enterprises damaged during the conflict; and contribute to the reconstruction of community infrastructure via vocational skills training. Ambassador Auday Al-Khairalla, Permanent Representative of Iraq, emphasized that the support sends a strong message to both the people of his country, as well as to the Government, that Iraq is not alone in fighting terrorism and resulting issues.
Another USD 1 million project will help address the challenge of youth employment in Upper Egypt and contribute to socio-economic stability by diversifying the local economy, increasing the resilience of communities and individuals, and enhancing the employability of youth. This is meant to help avoid the phenomena of radicalization and illegal migration. The project will stimulate private sector growth in priority clusters and value chains. It will also help promote skills development for underemployed and unemployed young people and women, as well as enhance the employment prospects and self-employment opportunities for students.
A USD 791,000 project in Morocco was specifically designed to tackle unemployment and migration in the eastern region of Morocco. It will focus on employment-generating activities by developing marketable industrial skills. This will include supplying productive equipment, as well as business-related services to selected enterprises. The project will also help link local companies with local and international counterparts, including with Japanese firms, operating in the industrial sector.
An amount of USD 1.9 million will contribute to a project in Jordan to create employment opportunities and improve food security in communities in Northern and Central Badia that are hosting Syrian refugees. It is expected to help further develop the agricultural potential of these areas, and contribute to creating employment and generating income for the beneficiaries, with special focus on women and young people.
In Lebanon, which is also severely affected by the influx of Syrian refugees, a USD 1 million project will help in creating job opportunities in the furniture industry, particularly in micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises. Skill development training will be provided for unemployed people, particularly the young, in order to enhance their employability, and producers' market access will be expanded through enhancing visibility of the furniture producers in North Lebanon and promoting linkages with buyers.
In Somalia, a USD 625,000 project will help restore the livelihoods of young people considered at risk in areas bordering Kenya, where civil war, international isolation, and clan-based violence have had a profound and adverse impact on the productive capacity of all sectors of the economy. Under the project, young people will be offered vocational skills training.
A project in Sudan worth USD 630,000 will focus on supporting food security by establishing local processing facilities for soy milk, soy meal and cake. The development of the country's soybean-processing will help increase overall revenue from soybean and open up new markets, both locally and internationally. At the meeting, Ambassador Mohamed Hussein Hassan Zaroug, Permanent Representative of Sudan, expressed appreciation for the fact that soybean products are being introduced to the country thus providing a healthy supplement to dairy products.