At least 30,000 youth will benefit from a new skills improvement program that will promote the expansion as well as the quality of skills development opportunities in key economic sectors in Tanzania.
The Education and Skills for Productive Jobs (ESPJ) Program for Results, approved on Thursday by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, will support the establishment and strengthening of institutional mechanisms operationalizing Tanzania’s new National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS 2016-2021) which seeks to increase the supply of skills for industries with high potential for growth and job creation in the country.
The 30,000 targeted beneficiaries of the program will include trainees enrolled in university, technical, vocational and alternative training programs in six key economic sectors namely tourism and hospitality; agriculture, agribusiness and agro-processing; transport and logistics; construction; information and communications technology and energy. Employer participation and labor market relevance of skills development form key elements of the program.
New mechanisms being established under the Government strategy and funded by the program will include a competitive, results-based Skills Development Fund open to skills training proposals from public and private providers, to help address critical skills gaps in these sectors; and Trainee Voucher Scheme for low income youth to remove financial barriers to accessing training programs.
“The improvement of human capital by helping address the skills gap is critical for the attainment of the country’s goal to become an industrialized economy, create income opportunities and reduce poverty,” says Bella Bird, World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Malawi, Burundi and Somalia. “But also with the population of job-seeking youths growing ever so rapidly, these actions are important for long term development.”
It is estimated that one million young people leave the education system and enter the Tanzanian labor market annually. With the country continuing on its current stable economic growth trajectory, it is expected that the bulk of employment opportunities for these youth will be generated by the Private Sector.
“The private sector is vital to addressing the challenge of unemployment,” says Cornelia Jesse, co-Task Team Leader for the ESPJ. “That is why in the program’s design, the private sector were involved in consultations from the beginning and they are also part of the institutional structure of the Skills Development Fund.”
The ESPJ is being financed by US$120 million under the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) and aligns with Tanzania’s new Five Year Development Plan (2016–2021) which centers on industrialization, and emphasizes addressing skills gaps as a critical lever to achieving its goals.