Photo: União Europeia em Moçambique
Around 1,200 young people from Cabo Delgado, many of whom have been displaced by the violent attacks in northern Mozambique, will benefit from the +Emprego (More Employment) project overseen by Portugal, said Francisco André, that country’s secretary of state for foreign affairs and cooperation, after signing documents to facilitate it.
The initiative, “aims to improve access to decent work and income for around 1,200 young people from Cabo Delgado,” said André, after signing partnership protocols between Portugal’s Camões – Institute for Cooperation and Language, which is overseeing the project, and local public and private partners.
“This year, this project should already cover 200 young people settled in Pemba, mostly displaced people,” André said, adding that by 2022 the aim is to “ensure the creation of self-employment and promote technical assistance” so that employability can be achieved – so also benefiting small and medium-sized enterprises.
The agreements signed on Tuesday underpin public-private partnerships between companies, academies and bodies offering vocational training that will work in “harmony” in the project, he stressed.
The initiative, budgeted at €4.2 million, is also funded by the European Union. It was originaly drawn to train young people to work in the gas sector, in view of the exploration projects in the Rovuma basin planned for the region.
The only gas project that was underway was suspended two months ago due to growing security concerns, but that does not invalidate the project, Mozambique’s deputy labour minister, Osvaldo Petersburg, told Lusa.
“The type of qualifications that the young people will have will enable them to work anywhere in the world,” he said, noting that they would obtain an “international certificate” after completing their training.
“But I am convinced that they will work in Cabo Delgado, in Palma, because we believe that it [will be possible] to resume the whole process,” he said, referring to the consortium led by France-based oil multinational Total.
António Gaspar, the EU’ sambassador in Mozambique, described the project as “a message of hope directed mainly at young people” and predicted a multiplier effect from the project – which is also to include training for trainers.
Unemployment and a lack of opportunities – particularly in the gas-related investments that had been starting in the region – have been identified by some observers as among the drivers of the recruitment of young people from Cabo Delgado on the part of the rebel groups that have terrorised the region for the past three years.
A quarter of the total funding earmarked for the project is to be allocated after the signing of five protocols today, André said, adding that the project was progressing at “good speed” after its launch six months ago.