A consolidated partnership between UNDP, Government, private sector, donors and MFI's to boost youth empowerment and innovation in Yemen

Oct 31, 2013

16 Youth entrepreneurs in Yemen

Fifty-five journalists attended the UNDP press conference, to discover how Yemen's youth were going to help build the future of the country through their innovative ideas and creative business solutions.

UNDP, through strategic partnership building, has succeeded to actively engage the Government, the private sector, micro-finance institutions and donors to work together with a common goal, building the resilience of Yemeni youth and bringing innovative initiatives to a country that is currently reshaping its future. 

Over the past months, UNDP and its partners have engaged thousands of young people around the country into the "Youth Innovation and Creativity Award", to come up with innovative business ideas that bring concrete solutions to the country's development challenges while making substantial and durable improvements to people's lives.

Following thousands of applications received and a thorough selection process in three rounds, the press conference announced and honored the sixteen winning ideas which will receive $20,000 each and implementation support from UNDP. 

Among these creative visions, who would have thought that used cooking oil could become a performant additive to diesel energy? Did we think of mixing wood chips and plastic to work both as soundproofing material and heat insulator? Do we know that some young Yemeni agricultural engineers can build solar powered green houses relying on 100% organic methods of production for fertilization and pest control? And that a Yemeni woman from Hodeida will manage a plumbing business?

At the press conference, all partners demonstrated their active involvement to boosting youth entrepreneurship and business innovation for Yemen: Hayel Saeed Anam Group of Companies, leading Industrial and Trading Group in Yemen, and Yemen LNG, the largest industrial project, both provided $20,000 for a prize and support the implementation through incubation and private sector mentors to the youth. Tadhamon Bank, micro-finance institution, announced their support to the winning ideas with loans, at low interest rate and without the draconian guarantee requirements still common in Yemen. The CEO of the bank told the youth, " the fact that you have UNDP endorsement is better than any guarantee". The Minister of Industry committed his support to the immediate implementation of the businesses, including through the licensing and copy right of the ideas. Shabab TV announced a contribution of $5000 to each youth winner to highlight the ingenuity and creativity of their ideas that can inspire others. The donors Japan and South Korea expressed their continuous commitment to youth empowerment in Yemen. 

To support the Government and the people of Yemen in this unprecedented transition, UNDP has made youth economic empowerment a priority, addressing one of the root causes of conflict in putting a strong focus on youth, within the context of a strategic alignment undertaken by the CO to dedicate its resources and capacities to the priorities of the transition, in line with the Transitional  Programme for Stabilisation and Development (TPSD) and the Mutual Accountability Framework (MAF), as well as with the new UNDP Strategic Plan placing particular emphasis on youth. 

A national dialogue and an electoral process without youth participation and increasing job opportunities could put the transition at risk.  Without the youth, it will be rather difficult to conceive and conduct transformation. They are the most resourceful agent of change. These awards have been but one further tangible demonstration of the youth's potential to become a primary player for positive change... if they are given the chance.

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