Minister for Labour Hon. Gen. James Hoth Mai and the Minister for Gender, Child, and Social Welfare Hon. Ayaa Benjamin Warille, along with the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands H.E. Jelte van Wieren, and UNDP Resident Representative Samuel G. Doe pose with youth and employers at the launch of the New Business, Employment and Innovation Hub (Juba iHub) located in Juba at the Multipurpose Training Center behind Juba Stadium. Photo: UNDP

15 July 2021, JUBA—A new hub has been launched in Juba to assist young people with skills, employment and entrepreneurial development. The Integrated Business, Employment and Innovation Hub (Juba iHub) is a one-stop-shop where youth can expand their businesses, improve their employment profiles, and acquire innovation skills and knowledge.

The iHub was launched on 15 July under the leadership of the Minister of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development Hon. Gen. James Hoth Mai and the Minister for Gender, Child, and Social Welfare Hon. Ayaa Benjamin Warille, along with the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E. Jelte van Wieren, the African Development Bank Country Manager, Benedict Kanu, and the UNDP Resident Representative, Samuel G. Doe, to commemorate World Youth Skills Day 2021.

“The government and our partners are committed to promoting and supporting opportunities that increase the empowerment of youth, with an aim of investing in technical and vocational training skills. I sincerely would like to appreciate the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the African Development Bank, and all development partners involved for their help in equipping young men and women, including those having special needs, with opportunities to find or create employment,” said Hon. Gen. James Hoth Mai, Minister of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development.

“I am happy to see that a number of women are involved in this initiative and encourage even those who may have started and dropped out, to continue. In every discussion [at ministerial level], the issue of youth unemployment comes up. I hope to see many more young people benefitting from this center,” said Hon. Ayaa Benjamin Warille, Minister of Gender, Child, and Social Welfare.

The iHub will serve as a convening place and provide access to internet and digital content for job seekers and innovators. At the iHub, young people will have access to a full suite of services, such as being able to receive support and feedback on crafting their CV’s; internet access to research employers and business opportunities; job placement opportunities; and space to dream up new business ideas and receive coaching to bring their concepts into reality.

“South Sudan can only develop into a stable, prosperous and peaceful society when it listens to its youth. This is a country where youngsters aged 30 years and below make up 72 percent of the country’s population, representing over 8 million South Sudanese. These youth need hope, space, and opportunities to prosper, and that is why their involvement in political, social, and economic processes is so crucial. Above everything else, the youth need meaningful employment. The right investment has to be made to meet this goal,” said H.E. Jelte van Wieren, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to South Sudan.

During the launch, dignitaries toured the new facility, which consists of an administrative office, meeting and conference room, and a computer lab, and heard from successful job seekers and employers who have already utilized the services of the iHub. Seven new internship contracts were signed between job seekers and potential employers, facilitated by South Connect LTD, as an indication and commitment of the catalytic role the iHub can play in creating pathways to employment. 

“We hope the youth gathered here will seize the opportunities to grow, brought forth by the Juba iHub. At the center of our work at UNDP is finding ways to build the employment capacity and empowerment of young people in South Sudan, because that is where hope and prosperity lies for the future of this country. We reaffirm our commitment and will continue to walk this path with government and partners so the full potential of South Sudan’s young people can be realized for the benefit of the nation,” said Samuel G. Doe, UNDP Resident Representative.

World Youth Skills Day, commemorated on 15 July, celebrates the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship. In the face of COVID-19, globally youth employment has fallen, and many young people are not in employment, education or training. In South Sudan, more than 90 percent of youth lack formal employment.

“This Hub will provide access to internet and digital content for young South Sudanese seeking employment and innovative opportunities. It will reduce the skills gap and help to foster employment and entrepreneurial development by providing access to business development services,” said African Development Bank Country Manager, Benedict Kanu.

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For more information contact:

Kymberly Bays, UNDP Communications: kymberly.bays@undp.org

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