ISLAMABAD: The Government of Japan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today signed an agreement to launch a US$ 3.9 million initiative aiming to empower more than 20,000 youth in Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces. This initiative will help improve employment prospects and promote social cohesion through positive interactions amongst young people in deprived communities, helping them participate actively in the socioeconomic development of Pakistan.
Speaking at the occasion, Ignacio Artaza, Country Director UNDP Pakistan, said: “The challenges posed by the ‘youth bulge’ in Pakistan are immense. Almost 1.8 million jobs are required every year to absorb the growing number of young people entering thejob market. The youth represent the future of Pakistan, and this is a tremendous opportunity for which we are thankful to the Government of Japan. Thanks to this support, we aim to provide jobs for young Pakistanis.”
Mr Takashi Kurai, the Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, said: “Pakistan’s population is very young and ensuring job opportunities and income for youth is critical for development of Pakistan. Japan will continue to support youth and young women so that they can take the lead in development of this country which has bright future with young population.”
The Youth Empowerment in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Project will provide opportunities that increase young people’s employment prospects and enhance social cohesion in areas that currently have limited scope for social and economic engagement. Youth-friendly community spaces will be developed to promote interactions between young people, and youth from underdeveloped areas will receive demand-driven skills trainings to help them gain productive employment in local industries.
About 31 percent of Pakistan’s population of 207.7 million comprises young people aged 15 to 29 years. With a youth unemployment rate of 10.8 percent, it is crucial to invest in this “youth bulge” and provide young people with the skills and knowledge they need to operate in an increasingly competitive employment market, and to help Pakistan’s youthful population to contribute to its sustainable development.
This project aligns with the Government of Pakistan’s Vision 2025 Roadmap and is an important step in helping Pakistan achieve its Sustainable Development Goals to engage young people, provide economic growth, productive employment and decent work for all, and to create just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
The Youth Empowerment in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Project builds on previous collaborations between UNDP and the Government of Japan that have supported the people of Pakistan in responding to a host of development challenges, from relief and rehabilitation work in FATA to electoral reform at the national level.