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A project that supports Ethiopian youth and women entrepreneurs was launched here today.

The Young and Women Entrepreneurship Promotion (YoWEP) project is co-funded and implemented in partnership with the governments of Italy and Austria through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and Austria Development Cooperation, respectively.

Some 900,000 Euros is allotted to the project which aims to support the efforts of Ethiopians in addressing the challenges of unemployment among the young and women and the consequent rise of economically driven migration.

The project will be implemented in the priority industrial sectors in the country and in the economic corridors connected to the integrated agro-industrial parks to be developed in Amhara, Oromia, Tigray and Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’ states.

During the launching of the project, UNIDO Director General Li Yong said his organization is committed to harnessing the potential of youth and women entrepreneurs so as build the backbone of inclusive and sustainable industrial development.

By applying innovative business ideas, youth and women can address prevailing social and economic challenges including unemployment and economically driven migration, he added.

Industry State Minister Mebrahtu Meles said the government pays attention to promoting young and women entrepreneurship through micro, small and medium enterprises.

According to him, the government has embarked on achieving middle income status by 2025 which requires reaching higher levels of industrialization and ensuring the creation of inclusive and sustainable job opportunities.

He further stated that the project will provide instrumental support for industrial development as well as sustained, inclusive and sustainable growth.

Austria’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Dr. Andreas Melan, who said more than one million of young people enter the Ethiopian labor market every year, added that the project constitutes an important contribution in creating space for women and girls to participate in and shape the development of their society.

Italian Agency for Development Cooperation Director Laura Frigenti said promoting youth and women entrepreneurship is important for Ethiopia’s development.