The EBRD is committed to promoting the economic inclusion of under-served social groups, such as unemployed young people. Nearly two fifths of young Egyptians under the age of 24 are unemployed and a third are not in any form of employment, education or training. And where training opportunities do exist, they often fail to equip young people with the skills required by employers.
Through an investment in a retail and entertainment centre in a suburb of Cairo, the EBRD is helping to address this skills gap and give young Egyptian jobseekers a better chance of finding work.
The EBRD is providing US$ 60 million to fund the development of the Mall of Arabia, the first phase of the Arabian Centres development in 6th of October City, an important satellite town on the edge of Cairo. As well as offering a safe and welcoming recreational area for the local community, the project will create some 5,000 jobs in total.
As part of the project, 25 international and local fashion brands operating in the centre will provide on-site, work-based training for young people and young women in particular. At least 100 young job seekers are expected to undergo vocational training in subjects including customer relations, store and facilities management and English.
Furthermore, these private employers will participate in the establishment of the first Retail Sector Skills Council in Egypt. This body will help to develop national training standards for Egypt’s retail sector, ensuring that vocational skills programmes for young people meet the requirements of industry and provide a useful learning experience for participants.
“This will be Egypt’s first private sector-led retail training model and it will make a real contribution to the development of vocational skills standards in the Egyptian retail sector,” says Vlaho Kojakovic, the EBRD banker who led the Bank’s involvement in the project. “This should have a systemic impact that goes far beyond the centre itself and will help more young people and young women especially find jobs.”
The Economic Inclusion element of the project is backed by technical cooperation funding from the Republic of Korea, which financed research into the best way of operating the on-site training hub.