Japan to support youth employment opportunities for refugees and host community in Mauritania

The project aims at promoting economic self-sufficiency of refugees and peaceful coexistence with host communities through the development of employability schemes and decent jobs in infrastructure construction works.

News | 11 April 2019
Contact(s): Federico Barroeta (barroeta@ilo.org)
ALGIERS (ILO News) - The year 2018 witnessed a rapid increase of refugee inflows into Mauritania, due to intensified violence in Mali. Malian new arrivals amounted to more than 5,800 people. The Mbera Refugee Camp, located in the arid southeast department of Bassikounou, now hosts 54,957 Malian refugees (as of 31 January 2019).

Due to limited employment opportunities, lack of vocational skills and limited sources of revenue, refugees face enormous difficulties in earning an adequate livelihood. At the same time, the Mauritanian host communities face high unemployment and underemployment. Creating jobs is thus indispensable to respond to the rapid increase in refugee arrivals and in order to mitigate socioeconomic instability, perceived injustice and inequality between refugees and host communities.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan has allocated US$ 1,000,000 from its Supplementary Budget to support the ILO in improving the human security of refugees and host communities by promoting decent work and local economic development with employment-intensive construction works. Thanks to Japan’s support, young women and men – both skilled and unskilled – from the Mbera refugee camp and from the host community will improve their employability by completing on-site training in construction techniques and receive a quality certification. The project will use Japanese-made eco-construction methodologies to ensure sustainable local socioeconomic development. Also, local enterprises and workers will improve their practices related to occupational safety and health as well as decent work conditions, thanks to technical support and supervision which will be provided to local and national authorities.

The project is consistent with Japan’s priorities for its cooperation with Africa, as stated in the Nairobi Declaration, adopted at the Sixth Summit of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI): Stressing employment creation and skills development especially for youth and women, quality infrastructure, social stability, peacebuilding, and counter-terrorism.

The project is part of the ILO’s flagship programme on Jobs for Peace and Resilience and will reinforce the international response to the developmental and stability challenges in the Sahel.