WASHINGTON, January 5, 2017 — The World Bank Board of Directors today approved a EUR 50 million IBRD loan for the Employment Support Project in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) with the objective to increase formal private sector employment among targeted groups, starting with the young first time job seekers.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has high and persistent unemployment. Among the unemployed, over 80 percent have been looking for work for more than a year, which points toward deep structural problems in the labor market, with a large share of job seekers not having the right qualifications for the jobs offered by employers.

Finding the first formal job is particularly tough: 67 percent of the young people are out of a job, compared with the general unemployment rate of around 28 percent. Addressing this challenge is at the heart of the Government’s reform program, and a key objective of the World Bank Group’s Country Partnership Framework in BiH.

“This project will directly contribute to job creation by providing financial incentives to formal private sector employment, starting with first time job seekers. Equally important, the project will improve employability, in other words, people’s ability to find and retain a good job,” said Tatiana Proskuryakova, World Bank Country Manager for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The project has two components. The first component, Employment Promotion, will help the governments in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the Republika Srpska scale up and improve the effectiveness of their Active Labor Market Programs (ALMP) and Public Employment Services intermediation to increase formal job placements in the formal private sector for selected target groups of job seekers, such as youth, unemployed with low skills, long-term unemployed, unemployed 40 years of age or older, women, and other disadvantaged groups. Supported programs include wage subsidies, on-the-job training, self-employment, services for job seekers and employers.

The second component, Management Systems, Monitoring, and Communications, will provide financing for strengthening management systems to monitor ALMPs and job intermediation and developing and implementing an effective communications strategy targeting job seekers, employers, and policy makers. It will finance enhancements of IT systems to (a) enable data exchange among employment offices and other institutions; (b) offer online services; (c) monitor services offered to job seekers and employers; (d) introduce/monitor branch office performance; and (e) monitor and disseminate labor market trends and results from ALMPs.

World Bank