The World Bank (WB) has approved $200 million in loans to help Bangladesh provide support and services to the low-income urban youths affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The fund approved for the ‘Recovery and Advancement of Informal Sector Employment (RAISE)’ project will also help involuntary returnee migrants by improving earning opportunities and resilience, a WB release said on Wednesday.The scheme will help some 175,000 poor urban youth and low-income micro-entrepreneurs enhance employability and productivity by helping them access services such as life-skills training, apprenticeship programs, counselling, microfinance, and self-employment support.
To help about 200,000 eligible migrants who had been forced to return since January 2020 either sustainably reintegrate into the domestic labour market or prepare for re-migration, the project will provide cash grants, counselling, and referrals to relevant services based on their needs and aspirations.
“International migration and urban informal sector have played a central role in Bangladesh’s remarkable success in reducing poverty over the years. However, both sectors were hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said WB Country Director Mercy Tembon.
“The project will support both groups of workers to overcome structural barriers to employability and facilitate resilient post-pandemic growth,” she added.
For the low-income urban youth and micro-entrepreneurs whose livelihoods have been impacted by Covid-19, the project will support an economic inclusion program that will be tailored to fit the individual needs of eligible beneficiaries.
The range of services offered includes life-skills and socio-emotional counselling; on-the-job learning through apprenticeship programs; business management training; and microfinance for self-employment and informal micro-enterprises.