The board of executive directors of the World Bank on Tuesday approved a US$20-million Human Capital Resilience Project that will seek to improve skills relevant to labour market demands in St Lucia.
Another aim of the project is to strengthen the social protection system by increasing the resilience of the most vulnerable households to shocks.
“The World Bank is committed to contributing to the Eastern Caribbean states’ development priorities and is delighted to partner in Saint Lucia’s cross-cutting programme to build human capital resilience,” said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean.
“This project will help better match technical skills with labour market needs to build job opportunities, especially for the youth. It will also improve coverage of social safety nets and includes measures for enhancing the responsiveness of the social protection system in case of disasters,” she added.
Youth and women are the primary target demographic of this project as they will receive skills training, while poor households will benefit from improved social protection coverage.
“This project will help better match technical skills with labour market needs to build job opportunities, especially for the youth.”— World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean Tahseen Sayed
According to the World Bank, small island economies in the Caribbean are highly dependent on tourism. In fact, based on estimates, tourism in St Lucia will contribute over 50 perc ent of GDP and 60 per cent of jobs by 2027.
As a result, St Lucia’s labour market, especially tourism and other productive sectors, will require human capital with high-quality skills.
With this in mind, the project will support the Government’s measures to increase job opportunities for youth and women by expanding the number and quality of technical and vocational education offerings, and sponsor internships and job placements with support from the private sector.
The project aims to boost the efficiency of the country’s social protection system by improving social spending and strengthening targeting to ensure appropriate coverage.
Through the International Development Association, the World Bank will finance the project interest-free, with a maturity of 40 years. St Lucia will have a grace period of 10 years and no interest to begin repayment of the US$20 million.