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2 August - Some 3,000 young people in Côte d'Ivoire, including ex-fighters and women, will receive training in the construction, manufacturing and service sectors under a new United Nations project that seeks to help them get involved in their country's economic recovery.

The two-year, $3.5 million project by the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) will complement the ongoing demobilization and reintegration programme in the West African nation, which became split by civil war in 2002 into a rebel-held north and Government-controlled south.

Under the project, which will be funded by the Japanese Government and carried out in the Bouaké region, UNIDO will rebuild a centre which will offer training in areas such as welding, vehicle mechanics, woodwork, plumbing, building construction, tailoring, healthcare and food nutrition.

The project is designed “to assist the Government of Côte d'Ivoire in its efforts towards a lasting peace, poverty eradication and sustainable social and economic development,” said Yoshiteru Uramoto, Deputy to the Director-General of UNIDO.

“Young people, including demobilized combatants, will benefit from a series of training courses. They will get new skills in the productive sectors, and develop entrepreneurial abilities to set up their own micro-enterprises and income-generating activities,” he added.

The agreement on the project was signed today in Abidjan by Mr. Uramoto and the Ambassador of Japan to Côte d'Ivoire, Yoshifumi Okamura.

“Japan attaches great importance to the role of UNIDO in the post-conflict countries, notably in the restoration of the damaged economy as well as in consolidating peace,” said Mr. Okamura.

“What is needed for the future of those countries is for the young people to acquire qualified skills, aside from humanitarian or basic human needs, so as to involve them in the economic recovery and reconstruction.”

In keeping with the Ouagadougou Peace Agreements, the 2007 blueprint for political reconciliation, Côte d'Ivoire's peace process has been focusing on priorities such as the holding of elections, disarmament and all aspects of the reunification of the country.