Baghdad – Germany has reaffirmed its partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) by investing EUR 30 million (US$35.89 million) to enhance economic empowerment and create employment opportunities for vulnerable communities in Iraq. The contribution was made available by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) with financing provided through Germany’s KfW Development Bank. With that contribution, BMZ has over the past five years committed more than EUR 340 million to various UNDP programmes in Iraq.
Focusing on areas with the hardest-to-return populations in Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Salah Al-Din, the Building Resilience through Employment Promotion (BREP) project gives Iraq the opportunity to build forward better in its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The project will provide more than 16,000 Iraqis with short-term and medium-term employment opportunities, as well as skills development in economically promising sectors of construction and agriculture, and the private sector through small and medium size enterprises.
“Germany and KfW have long been key partners of UNDP Iraq. We are grateful for this continued commitment to building peace and stability for communities in Iraq – particularly the most vulnerable. The onset of COVID-19 has exacerbated Iraq’s economic crisis and increased unemployment rates, especially for the most vulnerable Iraqis. Germany’s renewed support will enhance economic empowerment within the community, leading to a greater sense of inclusion, especially among young people and women,” said the UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad.
Germany’s Ambassador in Baghdad, H. E. Dr. Ole Diehl, stresses the importance of the measures taken: “The COVID-Pandemic has hit the Iraqi population hard. But its socio-economic consequences will be much worse if we do not act immediately. People need a roof over their head and a job to put food on their tables. Germany stands at their side to help build financial resilience.”
“The social and economic challenges Iraq is facing have been exacerbated by the pandemic and KfW on behalf of the German government is pleased to support Iraq in its efforts to cope with these tremendous challenges. In providing financing for BREP we will contribute to strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities by enhancing their economic empowerment,” said Dr. Anna Janke, Country Director of KfW Office in Iraq.
Under the project, UNDP supports vulnerable Iraqis to build back better and recover from the economic shock of the COVID-19 crisis, and improve income security, productivity and socioeconomic inclusion of vulnerable populations. The project will contribute significantly to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1 (No Poverty), 5 (Gender Equality) and 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth).
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Mrinalini Santhanam, Communications Specialist