Programme will target women, youth, marginalized groups
BELMOPAN, BELIZE — The International Labour Organization (ILO) is on a mission to help ensure more marginalized groups find jobs in Belize through a new programme it plans to launch in the near future.
In a statement, the ILO said it will be primarily focused on the women and youth of Belize, as well as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), which overall provide the biggest portion of jobs in the country.
While it hasn’t said when this initiative will launch, the ILO noted that it plans to include some 300 marginalized Belizeans in its plan to boost employment and provide more stable, formal employment opportunities throughout the nation.
Its statement read, “The ILO, as part of the ‘Joint SDG Fund Programme: Building a resilient Belize through universal, adaptive, and sustainable social protection,’ seeks to support Belize, in line with its national plan, to recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic, particularly on vulnerable groups such as women, microentrepreneurs and rural population.
“The main results of the Joint Program (JP) are centered on two interconnected outcomes, both of which are articulated in the government’s Medium-Term Development Strategy Priority Areas: poverty reduction and economic growth.”
Added focus on entrepreneurs
Some regional economists and experts have singled out MSMEs in the Caribbean for development, noting that they provide the lion’s share of jobs in many countries.
It follows, then, that when MSMEs are empowered to grow and expand, more jobs will be created accordingly.
The ILO also seems to expect this to be the case in Belize particularly, noting that more than 90 percent of businesses in the country are MSMEs.
“The national plan emphasizes the recovery and empowerment of MSMEs in that over 60 percent of jobs being generated are relevant to women and youth,” it noted in its statement on the programme.
“Most enterprises in Belize are MSMEs (over 90 percent). The pandemic has even widened this sector due to loss of formal jobs within the economy.
“The small enterprises are often characterized by low productivity, high informality (over 90 percent) and a short life span.
“To assist the Belizean government in its reactivation efforts, the ILO constituents and partners will work with the key stakeholders to support MSMEs, with particular attention to vulnerable groups of women, youth and Indigenous peoples, and to generate integrated support in an articulated manner.”