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The World Bank on Thusday announced a new financing tranche worth about 293 million US dollars to promote integration and technical training across the east African region, reports BSS/Xinhua.
The lender said the new funding that combines credit and grant will help boost access to quality technical, vocational, education and training (TVET) institutes and support regional integration in east Africa.
“We recognize the transformational opportunity that human capital development and regional integration presents for East Africa’s future,” Sajitha Bashir, the World Bank’s education practice manager for eastern and southern Africa,
said in a statement issued in
“The World Bank is committed to supporting the development of high quality skills to expand regional economic corridors and regional infrastructure projects that can unlock the continent’s growth potential,” she added. Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania will benefit from the new World Bank funding,
dubbed East Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Project (EASTRIP), which will support technical training in transport, energy, manufacturing and ICT sectors.
Multilateral lenders have rallied behind concerted efforts to promote integration across Africa as a means to reduce barriers to trade, ease movement of skilled workforce and boost economic growth.
The World Bank noted that regional integration initiatives like the Northern Corridor Integration Project (NCIP) and the Central Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency that seek to open markets have created new demand for skilled labor.
Experts said that a low literacy level that has created a yawning skills gap in sub-Saharan Africa has undermined economic productivity in the region. “Shortage of specialized technical and vocational education and training is particularly acute in transport, energy, manufacturing and ICT,” said
World Bank Lead Education Specialist Liang Xiaoyan, who is also team leader for the EASTRIP project.
“If not addressed, the skills gap could seriously dampen the industrialization and integration agenda in east Africa,” she added.