UNIDO and Japan sign $3.88 million to establish ultramodern automotive maintenance centres.
23 March 2021
UNIDO) and the Government of Japan signed a finance agreement worth $3.88 million to establish four ultra-modern automotive maintenance centres.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Government of Japan signed a finance agreement worth $3.88 million to establish four ultra-modern automotive maintenance centres to train auto mechanics in Sierra Leone.
The ceremony took place on Tuesday, 23 March 2021, at the Chief Minister's office at State House. It was followed by the signing of a project document between UNIDO and the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education as well.
The project will help Sierra Leone bridge the skills gap in the country's automotive aftermarket sector (spare parts, accessories, and components for motor vehicles) and promote jobs for the youth.
The Country Representative of UNIDO, Ms. Mariatu Swaray, noted that historically, the drive towards a vibrant economy and economic independence of youth had been mainly dependent on industrial skills development through the Technical Vocation Education Training (TVET) sector.
"TVET has been at the heart of many country's structural transformations, and they catalyze enhanced employment opportunities, higher productivity, learning, innovation, and exports expansion for technology spillovers. It is within this framework of inclusive human capital development and under our mandate to promote inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) that UNIDO is fully supporting the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education to enhance the meaningful structural transformation of the automotive repair and maintenance industry," the UNIDO Country Representative said.
Ms. Swaray further added that the project is specifically designed to empower vulnerable youth to have access to a decent job, especially in the face of COVID- 19. The project, according to her, "will further leverage the opportunity to advance women's empowerment in a traditionally male-dominant automobile sector".
Upon signing the Exchange of Notes, Ambassador Tsutomu Himeno underscored that Japan has consistently supported other countries through empowerment. "Japan's philosophy of supporting our friends is to help their empowerment. Skills development is a crucial element for that. Japan is very happy to collaborate with UNIDO and the Government of Sierra Leone for this project," he noted.
Chief Minister Prof. David J Francis, who delivered the keynote address, indicated that the Government of Japan’s support through UNIDO, which will benefit more than 10,000 youth, was one of the outcomes of President Julius Maada Bio’s participation in the Tokyo International Conference of Africa's Development (TICAD).
In a country where youths constitute a third of the population, youth unemployment and underemployment stand overwhelmingly at 70 percent. The interventions of this project, therefore, can play a critical role in addressing youth employment.
The UNIDO project will develop a system that can train the youth in demand-driven automotive technician and entrepreneurship skills.
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Industrial Development Organization