KOICA, the Government of Timor-Leste (GoTL), and UNDP Signed a Six-year Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Skills (YEES) Project
July 22, 2022
Dili, 22/07/2022 – A six-year project, Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Skills (YEES), jointly funded by Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Government of Timor-Leste through Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry (MTCI), and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) was launched today, July 22, 2022. The signing ceremony was held at the Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão Auditorium, Ministry of Finance and attended by, among others, H.E. Mr Rui Araujo Gomes, Minister of Finance, H.E. Mr Domingos Lopes Antunes, Vice Minister of Commerce and Industry, H.E. Mr Antonio Freitas, Vice Minister of Finance, H.E. Mr Alarico de Rosário, Secretary of State for Vocational Training and Employment (SEFOPE), H.E. Mr Jeong Ho Kim, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Timor-Leste, Ms Eunju Cha, KOICA Country Director, Ms Lazima Onta-Bhatta, Deputy Resident Representative and Officer in Charge of UNDP, director generals, executive directors, directors of SEFOPE, the Entrepreneurship Development Support Institute (IADE), MTCI, as well as all distinguished guests from development partners.
The YEES Project aims to overcome the lack of sustainable opportunities and capacity among youth and returnee migrants to be employed or self-employed. The project will focus on two streams. First, employment readiness among youth by enhancing their soft skills, providing job counselling and information, and on-the-job experience through internship opportunities. Second, job creation by fostering entrepreneurship among youth and returnee migrants through a series of entrepreneurship training, business competition, and financial access via a low-interest loan guarantee scheme.
Ms. Lazima Onta-Bhatta, Deputy Resident Representative and Officer in Charge of UNDP, expressed her deepest gratitude and highest appreciation to the government of Timor-Leste, especially MTCI, SEFOPE, IADE, Secretariat of State for Youth and Sports (SSYS), as well as to KOICA and National Commercial Bank of Timor-Leste (BNCTL) for their thorough guidance and input in developing this project. Mr Jeong Ho Kim, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Timor-Leste, asserted that the YEES Project is part of the collaborative work between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste in the area of economic development and employment, in line with Timor-Leste’s Strategic Development Plan (SDP) 2011-2030. H.E. Ambassador congratulated KOICA, the Government of Timor-Leste, and UNDP, on bringing the YEES Project and sincerely wished that YEES Project will be able to tackle the youth unemployment issues in Timor-Leste, as well as enhance the employment skills of Timorese youth and returnee migrants.
H.E. Mr Domingos Lopes Antunes, Vice Minister of Commerce and Industry, and H.E. Mr Rui Araujo Gomes, Minister of Finance, expressed their appreciation to KOICA and UNDP for the joint effort in developing the project. H.E. Vice Minister cited some of the most pressing issues among youth, such as lack of financial literacy and numeracy skills, basic accounting, bookkeeping, and management, which are essential in developing a business. H.E. Minister of Finance highlighted the importance of human capital in attracting investment and reducing poverty. YEES Project is expected to strengthen the support for human development outcomes by providing opportunities for young men and women to gain knowledge, proper training, and job experience to meet the demands of today’s development.
The signing ceremony consisted of a Partnership Agreement (PA) signing between KOICA and the Government of Timor-Leste, which was represented by the Ministry of Finance. Both KOICA Country Director and H.E. Minister of Finance signed the agreement witnessed by H.E. Ambassador of the Republic of Korea. The ceremony was continued by a Grant Agreement Signing between KOICA and UNDP Timor-Leste, and the Project Document signing between UNDP and the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry. UNDP as the main implementing partner is committed to working collaboratively with the government partners, such as MTCI, SEFOPE, IADE, and SSYS, as well as with BNCTL and other institutions, to make this project a success.
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