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African Development Fund Approves $20 Million Grant for Youth and Women Job Creation

Women's Tabloid News Desk
Women's Tabloid News Desk

The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund, which is the concessional arm of the African Development Bank Group, has granted $19.95 million to support an initiative aimed at enhancing livelihood opportunities for women and youth in Sierra Leone.

The project “Job Creation for Youth and Women in Climate-Smart Agriculture Value Chains and Waste Management” focuses on enhancing opportunities within value chains predominantly engaged by youth and women, such as cassava farming and fisheries.

As part of Pillar 1 of the Transition Support Facility, the grant aims to address fundamental issues of fragility and insecurity in Sierra Leone. Additionally, the Global Center on Adaptation will contribute $159,600 for technical assistance to develop adaptation strategies, specifically focusing on policies for waste management.

Halima Hashi, the Country Manager for the Bank Group in Sierra Leone, highlighted that 70% of those benefiting from the project will be women, thereby advancing gender equality and fostering economic empowerment.

The project aims to enhance entrepreneurial skills within smart agriculture and waste-management value chains, focusing on empowering youth and women. It seeks to improve access to funding for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), economic groups, and cooperatives led by these demographics. Additionally, the initiative aims to expand market access for MSMEs run by youth and women, thereby promoting economic inclusivity. Furthermore, the project aims to strengthen institutional capacity to create a more conducive business environment and improve service delivery for entrepreneurs in targeted sectors.

The project aims to enhance economic opportunities by improving funding access for 700 MSMEs. It will also provide entrepreneurial and digital skills training to 2,500 people in cassava and fisheries value chains, with a focus on empowering women. Additionally, 1,000 individuals will receive training in waste-management value chains, including 250 women. Facilitating business connections between 700 MSMEs and larger enterprises and establishing a digital marketplace will benefit 5,000 smallholder farmers and 4,850 MSMEs across various sectors.

The project aims to generate 9,200 jobs, enhance climate change adaptation skills for 3,500 youth and women, and boost MSME revenues by a minimum of 10%. This initiative is in line with Sierra Leone’s BIG FIVE Agenda and its medium-term National Development Plan (2024-2030), which aims to create 500,000 new jobs for youth by 2030. It also supports the African Development Bank’s Ten-year Strategy (2024-2033) and its Country Strategy Paper (2020-2024) for Sierra Leone.

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