Thursday, August 31, 2006

World Bank attacks poverty in the Dominican Republic

(Source Article: Breaking the cycle of poverty in the Dominican Republic - WB news)

According to the World Bank, there’s little chance for poor youth in the Dominican Republic to finish secondary school and acquire a steady job – an unfortunate circumstance that fuels the poverty cycle in the Caribbean country. Approximately one third of persons aged 15-24 are unemployed, an amount double that of adults in the country, says Andrea Vermehren, World Bank Senior Social Protection Specialist.

Employers in the country simultaneously complain about a lack of qualified candidates in the pool of employees with the technical, managerial and language skills required of the jobs – skills that Dominican youth could acquire in secondary school. In order to combat this problem, the country is investing heavily in training some 28,000 young people and bolstering its adult education efforts; the World Bank is contributing approximately US$25 million to a youth employment program. Additionally, the Inter-American Development Bank is currently working with the country on not only addressing this problem, but in overall recovery from its economic crisis in 2003-2004. (see Dominican Republic and IDB held policy dialogue meeting - IDB news)

The job training will be provided in cooperation with private sector firms and businesses; after several months training, the youth will serve as interns with the participating firms. The country hopes that the relationship between employer and employee will also improve with this integrated approach to the problem.

The economic crisis of 2003-2004 is largely responsible for the current state of youth education and poverty; with the collapse of the country’s central bank and a total depreciation of its currency, many youth suffered malnutrition that forced them to drop out of school in order to work temporary jobs to help feed their families. The country hopes that, by focusing on education and training efforts, it can eventually eliminate this concern. (see WB approves $25 million for youth development program - WB news)

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