The United Nations Development Programmme (UNDP) has allocated one million dollars to Syria’s Agency for Combating Unemployment. Established last year, the agency is carrying out a five-year initiative to create job opportunities by setting up networks of community funds to offer loans for small businesses.
The Syrian government is also providing $400,000 to the Agency’s newest scheme, which involves the production of a detailed unemployment map identifying the regions and communities where the problem is most severe, a job training strategy for the public and private sectors, a national job creation strategy, and funding proposals for donors such as the European Commission (EC), bilateral aid agencies, development banks and private donors.
Based on the map, the project is setting up at least two pilot networks of local community funds. It will also establish networks for small businesses, helping the entrepreneurs upgrade their operations and generate more jobs.
With rising unemployment and young people having the most difficulty finding work, the state embarked on a gradual process of economic reform and liberalization during the 1990’s, but despite economic growth, the unemployment rate stands at 9.4 percent, up from 4.8 percent in 1981 and 6.7 percent in 1995.
Nearly three out of four unemployed are people are between 15 and 24, and rural areas are the worst affected. This is one reason why people have been migrating to cities in the recent years from rural communities, which suffer as a result.
According to the Head of the State Planning Commission, Tawfik Ismail a main requirement for success is national commitment, reflected by government policies, legislation and budget allocations. In this case, the government has committed one billion dollars to support micro finance schemes for small and medium-sized enterprises and infrastructure activities, especially building housing in poor areas. It is also providing administrative facilities to support the initiative. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )