CDB wants to alleviate youth unemployment in Haiti through entrepreneurship

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – One hundred and fifty young people from five Haitian cities will receive entrepreneurship training, mentorship and access to grants for business start-up purposes, under a new project, Youth Entrepreneurship Education and Training in Haiti.

The technical assistance project was launched on December 6 by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in collaboration with the Société Financière Haïtienne de Développement (SOFIHDES) and L’Institut National de Formation Professionnelle (INFP).

The project is starting in the capital city of Port-au-Prince with the first cohort of 25 young people currently taking part in a two-week training workshop. CDB, through its Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services (CTCS) Network has contributed USD600,000 from its Special Development Fund (Haiti Set-Aside) for the project’s implementation.

Daniel Best, Director of the Projects Department at CDB, explains that the project is part of an effort to tackle high youth unemployment levels in Haiti. He notes that while World Bank research showed that a significant portion of Haitian youth start work at an early age, creating an increased risk of school drop out rates, unemployment levels among young people were still as high as 40.6% for males and 54.8% for females.

The project aims to bridge this gap by equipping young people who are on the verge of completing or have recently completed technical and vocational training, with the skills to be successfully self-employed. “This is why CDB is supporting this Project. The Bank recognises that the entrepreneurial talents of young people should be harnessed to create self-employment opportunities, thereby reducing unemployment and poverty. Based on the successful implementation of this Pilot Project, it will be scaled up to benefit a larger number of young persons in Haiti,” states Best.

The project will benefit young people between the ages of 18 to 30 in Port-au-Prince and four other communes/department, namely Gonaives, Cap Haitien, Mirebalais, and Jérémie. The Project is being coordinated by the development finance institution SOFIHDES in conjunction with INFP, a specialised Department within the Ministry of Education which was established to promote technical and vocational education and training.

This entrepreneurship project for young professionals in is a true model of public private partnership, the final objective of which is the creation of jobs and wealth,” says Thony Moïse, General Manager, SOFIHDES. The project will run over a period of 18 months and includes training workshops and one-on-one mentorship.

Training and mentorship will be facilitated by experienced consultants, some of whom are business owners/operators themselves. Additionally, at least 50 eligible young persons will have access to finance through grants of up to USD5,000 to enable them to acquire essential materials, tools, and equipment, inclusive of professional services to start or expand/improve their businesses.

Dikel Delvariste, Director General, INFP, commented: “This partnership between INFP, SOFIHDES, and CDB will allow young adults graduating from the vocational and technical training sub-sector to have an important framework that will allow them to create or consolidate their income-generating activity. It is an innovative project for the national vocational training system.”  
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