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World Bank Education Programs in MozambiqueIn 2020, the World Bank approved a grant of $104 million from the International Development Association (IDA) in support of the Mozambique Improvement of Skills Development Project. World Bank education programs in Mozambique aim to improve Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Higher Education subsystems. This is to foster qualitative educational opportunities and skills development training in Mozambique.

The project aims to enhance employability and skill development, particularly among young people. Nearly three years after the program’s launch, the following is an evaluation of its impacts, successes, failures and the way forward for improving skills development in Mozambique.

Successes

According to recent data, there has been a significant rise in student enrollment in Higher Education since December 2018. At that time, the baseline value was 20.00, but as of March 2022, it had increased to 33.62. According to projections, the baseline value will reach 45.00 by December 2024.

The project also increased the number of students enrolled in TVET qualifications endorsed by the private sector. This had a baseline value of 35.00 in December 2018 and increased to 43.00 as of March 2022, with plans to reach 75.00 by 2025. As a result of these trends, young people are able to acquire skills in high demand in the job market.

The initiative has also created a more gender-inclusive TVET and Higher Education environment. In higher education, female students make up 45% of total enrollment, marking a notable increase from 38% in 2001. Although they tend to concentrate mostly on social areas, their presence in other fields is also growing. Additionally, the number of female students in TVET also increased from 36.2% in 2015 to 45% in 2017.

Additionally, the partnerships between the private sector, the government and civil organizations helped adjust and align the skills development programs with the current labor market needs. The Mozambique Improvement of Skills Development Project of the World Bank also supported advancing entrepreneurial skills and self-employment opportunities for young people in Mozambique.

The World Bank also aims “support the African Union’s Digital Moonshot for Africa, an initiative that seeks digital breakthroughs for every African individual, business and government by 2030. It is underpinned by five pillars: digital infrastructure, digital platforms, digital financial services, digital entrepreneurship and digital skills.”

Failures

The Mozambique Improvement of Skills Development Project had a primary focus on urban areas, resulting in rural areas missing out despite having high needs for TVET. The World Bank provided $4 million for small and medium-sized enterprises, targeted training courses for underserved groups in rural areas and grants for public and private TVET institutions in priority sectors.

Another challenge is the lack of coordination between stakeholders in skill development and training. Primarily focused on technical and vocational education and training (TVET), the project did not consider the informal sector, where most jobs emerge and exist in Mozambique. This has resulted in a mismatch between the skills acquired by the graduates and the needs of the labor market. According to the International Labor Organization, in 2016, 86% of the labor force worked in the informal economy.

The Way Forward

Fortunately, on March 31, 2023, according to the World Bank, “the Board of Directors approved a $300 million credit for the Mozambique Access to Finance and Economic Opportunities Project or Mais Oportunidades project, spanning six years (2023-2029), financed by the International Development Association (IDA).

This project aligns with the World Bank Group’s Partnership Framework (CPF) for Mozambique, which is a strategic plan that outlines the goals and the work for the next five years (2023-2027). After the Mozambique Improvement of Skills Development Project of the World Bank was implemented, another project was also established later in 2021. The project, Improving Learning and Empowering Girls in Mozambique, received $299 million in funding from the World Bank. Its aim is to increase girls’ access to basic education in underserved areas of Mozambique.

Although World Bank education programs in Mozambique have achieved some positive results, the impact has been limited, particularly in rural areas. Moving forward, the World Bank is implementing new trends and initiatives that focus on having more widespread effects in the country over the next five years. This approach will focus on the informal sector and aim to increase resources to facilitate future success.

– Lorraine Lin
Photo: Flickr