Negotiations between the World Bank (WB) and the Azerbaijani government on a $100 million loan for the self-employment program are at the final stage, country manager for the World Bank Azerbaijan Office Naveed Hassan Naqvi has said, local media reported.
The project is aimed at improving employment among vulnerable groups of Azerbaijani population who are looking for jobs: youth, women, internally displaced persons, people with disabilities and people with low levels of education.
The project includes three components: increasing the scope and effectiveness of the self-employment program; strengthening the capacity of the State Employment Service; project management, monitoring and evaluation.
“Negotiations on this project are almost complete. We have held many meetings, discussed all issues with the Azerbaijani Minister of Labor and Social Protection of the Population. Loan is expected to be approved in the near future,” Naqvi said.
In September 2019, Azerbaijani government sent an official request to the WB to obtain a loan of $100 million for the implementation of the employment support project. WB Board of Directors is planning to approve a loan in the first quarter of 2020.
In 2020, the World Bank project is expected to cover around 1,000-2,000 families. In the following years, 5,000 families are expected to be stably financed by the WB.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population plans to direct 63 million manats in 2020, to organize measures for self-employment.
The self-employment program has been implemented in Azerbaijan since 2016. As part of these measures, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population provides low-income families with various assets (goods, materials, livestock) so that they can start their small business.
Last year, 6,000 citizens were attracted to the program. Some 42 million manats ($25 million) were provided for financing the self-employment program in 2019. It will cover 8,000-10,000 families in 2019, up to 15,000 families in 2020.
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