Freetown, Sierra Leone, August 13, 2013 –
IFC and the World Bank are working with Sierra Leone’s government
and private sector to help create training and employment opportunities
for young people in the country, where about a third of the population
is under 35. IFC is a member of the World Bank Group.
As part of this initiative, IFC, the World Bank, donor organizations, and
Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Youth Affairs hosted a Youth Employment Forum
in Freetown from August 12th - 13th that brought
together young people, government officials, and the private sector to
discuss ways of empowering youth in the country and creating more employment
opportunities for them.
Speaking at the event, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Youth Affairs, Hon.
Alimany Kamara, said, “Now that there is strong political will and determination
to empower the young people of Sierra Leone, the development of the nation
lies in the hands of the youth. Young people must be ready and committed
to take the lead to move this nation forward, and through peaceful and
productive activities. “
Sierra Leone coordinator for IFC’s Conflict Affected States in Africa
Initiative, Sese Gadzekpo, said, “IFC, through its investments and advisory
services programs, is committed to helping Sierra Leone build a strong
private sector and achieve long-term, sustainable economic growth. A major
focus of our work is supporting young people and entrepreneurs in the country,
helping them obtain the training and financing they need to launch and
The Youth Forum, which focused on the ICT, agriculture, mining, and tourism
sectors, explored ways of providing young people with better training opportunities
so they can more easily find employment, or start businesses. The forum’s
desired outcome is a youth employment road map that will provide long-term
solutions to youth unemployment.
Sierra Leone’s government has already committed to building a $30 million
‘youth village’ that will act as a training, education, and networking
IFC is active in Sierra Leone with investments and advisory services programs
that are improving the country’s investment climate and helping support
the growth of smaller businesses, including co-hosting an annual business
plan competition that nourishes the talent of young entrepreneurs.
Sierra Leone is also one of eight countries supported by IFC’s Conflict
Affected States in Africa Initiative (CASA) which works with other IFC
programs to promote a strong private sector in countries recovering from
conflict. CASA is supported by donor partners Ireland, the Netherlands,
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development
institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private
enterprises in more than 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise,
and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity.
In FY13, our investments climbed to an all-time high of nearly $25 billion,
leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs and tackle the
world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit