IFC Signs Agreement to Address Youth Employability in Lebanon and Iraq

ON 06/05/2024 AT 06 : 18 AM

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, on June 4 signed an agreement with CIS Group, the country’s largest technical and vocational training (TVET) school, to help strengthen its operations across Lebanon and Iraq and increase opportunities for youth employability.

This initiative is under the Prospects Partnership, a global initiative funded by the Government of the Netherlands aiming to improve the access of host communities and other vulnerable groups to education, social protection, and decent work. 

IFC will partner with CIS, a Lebanese firm with operations across Lebanon and Iraqto sharpen its corporate governance practices and education services by equipping youth with skills that match labor market needs. The project marks IFC’s first engagement in Lebanon’s TVET sector 

“IFC’s global experience and expertise will be instrumental for us, especially in terms of improving our corporate governance and equipping graduates with the skills employers need. We are eager to work together to strengthen our operational structure and secure a better future for our graduates.” says Dr. Abdulkader Mikdash, President, CIS Group.  

Geopolitical and economic challenges -- including unemployment -- continue to hamper growth in Lebanon and Iraq. According to estimates by the International Labour Organization, almost half of Lebanon’s youth are unemployed (47.8 percent) with women facing even greater difficulty finding jobsIn Iraq, youth unemployment rate stands at 32.3 percent according to World Bank estimates. Supporting CIS and its extensive network across both countries can help change that. Educational institutions like CIS have the potential to equip youth and the workforce with skills that are relevant to the latest market needs and, therefore, contribute to boosting employment, productivity, and economic growth.  

"Lebanon has been facing severe socioeconomic and financial challenges, including high youth unemployment," says Hans Peter van der Woude, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Lebanon.  "This engagement is important as it fosters the inclusion of youth in a drive for job opportunities, supporting the country's economic recovery." 

Both Lebanon and Iraq grapple with vulnerable populations who find it difficult to secure a livelihood and find jobs. Approximately 10 percent of CIS students in both countries are from marginalized and vulnerable groups. IFC will help CIS explore opportunities for inclusion of these groups in the job market, through stronger coordination with the private sector to explore job placement options and through partnerships with other development institutions and agencies that are active in this space.   

For over 50 years, IFC has been a steadfast partner of Lebanon, backing the country’s private sector with investments and advice across different areas including finance, manufacturing, construction, retail, and ICT, aiming to boost competitiveness and help create more jobs and greater opportunities – especially for women, youth and the most vulnerable communities. Since 2005, IFC has invested more than $920 million in Lebanese firms, deploying $603 million from its own account and mobilizing $317 million from other partners, enabling the creation and maintenance of more than 41,500 jobs, out of which, more than 7,000 are held by women.