WB isues loan to boost employment in Azerbaijan
By Ofeliya Afandiyeva
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a $100 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to help finance the Azerbaijan Employment Support Project, the official website of the World Bank reported on March 5.
The aim of the project is to boost employment and income for the most vulnerable population of Azerbaijan by promoting self-employment opportunities in labor markets where there are less potential to work. The project will be specifically targeted at women, young people, people with low education levels and IDPs in the country.
“This is an important project for Azerbaijan and aims to improve employment opportunities for the most vulnerable in society,” said Naveed Naqvi, World Bank Country Manager for Azerbaijan. “The most essential aspect is to help those who are left out of the labor market and to reduce poverty, providing more inclusive economic growth.”
In order to succeed these goals, the project will enhance the government’s national Self-Employment Program, by supporting start-ups in the services and production sectors, expanding the program to include an average of 5,000 additional beneficiaries per year, improving governance, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of the program, and testing business support for beneficiaries with strong potential to grow businesses.
Moreover, the program will improve the capacity of the State Employment Services to perform better assessments of job-seeking clients and provide counseling, job matching, and referral to appropriate employment programs.
“The Government of Azerbaijan is committed to tackling barriers to accessing formal wage employment, by promoting self-employment,” said Maddalena Honorati, co-leader of the World Bank team that prepared the project.
“This project complements and builds upon the accomplishments of the Self-Employment Program, introducing measures that have been tested in other countries and are expected to improve the program’s efficiency and impact.”
The Azerbaijan Employment Support Project supports the goals of the World Bank Country Partnership Framework for Azerbaijan, which emphasizes the significance of investing in human development and tackling social challenges such as high levels of informality, underemployment, and low labor force participation among women and youth.
The project, which will be implemented over a period of 5 years, will also contribute to addressing disparities between rural and urban areas, across income groups and gender in Azerbaijan.
This loan is issued for a period of 14 years with a four-year grace period. As a result of the project implementation, the working conditions of about 5,000 people will improve annually.
“This project will focus on the development of self-employment in Azerbaijan,” the deputy head of the Baku Employment Department of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population Teymur Ibrahimov told local media.
“During the implementation of this project, self-employment of low-income individuals in micro and small business will be ensured. The project will be mainly aimed at young people and women who do not have stable jobs, but having skills in certain spheres of entrepreneurship,” he added.
Note that Azerbaijan joined The World Bank Group in 1992. Since then, the bank has allocated loans in the amount of over $3,000,000,000 for the implementation of over 50 projects in the country.
Currently, seven more projects worth about $1,500,000,000 billion are being implemented. In addition to loans, the World Bank allocated 45 grants to Azerbaijan for a total of $ 41.586 million in 1995-2014.
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