Posted on 22 March 2012 .
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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Shell Iraq have signed an agreement to implement a range of development projects in Southern Iraq. The four year partnership aims to increase the number of local area development activities, promote local small and medium enterprises and provide vocational training to respond to the private sector’s needs.
“UNDP believes that such partnerships are fundamental for the effective implementation of our development programmes in Iraq” said Peter Batchelor, UNDP Iraq Country Director. “Partnering with the private sector, particularly with international oil companies who are the largest investors in the country, is key to capacity building, generating employment and building strong and competitive inclusive markets” he added.
The partnership, the first between UNDP Iraq and the private sector, has two main components. The first includes vocational training to equip existing and future Iraqi workers to respond to the needs of the oil and gas sector. It also includes providing support for the establishment and development of micro, small and medium enterprises. The second includes a range of programmes to improve the quality of basic services for the residents of Basra province. This will be achieved through more inclusive and participatory planning processes, where local communities and civil society organisations are able to identify their own development needs and priorities.
Unemployment in Iraq is currently 11.5% of the labor force, slightly less than in recent years. More than 20% of Iraqi youth are unemployed, while at least one in every five women participating in the labor force is unemployed. In the Basra governorate, unemployment is 11 %.
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Dr. Mark A. DeWeaver
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