By Sami Zaptia.
London, 19 October 2021:
The Chargé Affaires at the Embassy of Japan to Libya, Masaki Amadera and the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative for Libya, Christopher Laker, conducted a joint mission in Benghazi 16-17 October to witness the progress of the projects funded by the Government of Japan since 2017. The Government of Japan supported the Stabilization Facility for Libya (SFL), Stabilization to Recovery Transition (START), and COVID-19 response projects through UNDP with funds amounting to USD 14 million.
With support from the Government of Japan, UNDP is working with national and local authorities to enhance the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jerdina rural hospital, which provides health care services to about 30,000 population in three villages in the suburb of Benghazi, was severely damaged by the war. The facility which underwent extensive renovation will accommodate patients affected by COVID-19 and also provide health care services to the general population.
Together with the Mayor of Benghazi, Sager Boujwari and Masaki Amadera, the UNDP held an opening ceremony of the Jerdina hospital.
During the visit, the Mayor of Benghazi declared: “We really appreciate the assistance from the Government of Japan through UNDP projects in Benghazi Municipality. The Municipality of Benghazi is looking forward to enhanced cooperation with UNDP.”
UNDP’s Project Stabilization to Recovery Transition (START) in Libya, aims at supporting local economic recovery and development in Libya through job creation, private sector development, and business development support to various entrepreneurs identified through a competitive.
The UNDP reported that this project is supporting entrepreneurs to re-establish businesses affected due to the COVID 19 pandemic, increase employment, and promote social peace, stability and sustainable economic recovery in Libya. The project has provided innovation challenge business grants to 26 winners of the Re-Start-Up project in Tripoli, Benghazi, and Tawergha with a total grant size of US$ 686,000.
In Benghazi, the mission met six entrepreneurs who have already resumed their activities. Muaad Ahmed Ali Hussin, who received a business grant, opened his dream publishing house called “Book Sandwich” in Benghazi. The delegation attended the signing ceremony for the ten authors who wrote about medical stories related to health food, corona pandemic, and virus at the Benghazi Medical University.
“The visit to Benghazi was an eye-opening experience. This is my first visit to the east, but it must not be the last one. I would like to continue visiting as many parts of the country as possible,” said Masaki Amadera, Charge’ d Affaires of Japan and Special Coordinator for Libya. “Japanese people have a special feeling for Libya, as Japanese society and economy were also heavily damaged by WWII about 76 years ago. However, Japan was able to recover being one of the largest economies in the world because of the people’s will and international assistance. Therefore, Japan is always ready to contribute to Libya’s reconstruction and development, together with Libyan friends and UN agencies”
The delegation had the opportunity to discuss with three young people who have recently completed a three-month on job course on car maintenance with Toyota Libya in Benghazi and were offered long term employment subsequently. This training was supported by UNDP.
On his part, the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Christopher Laker, said: “The private sector plays a key role in local economic development. UNDP will keep supporting that sector through partnerships that develop and promote entrepreneurship skills and opportunities for small business owners who lost their businesses due to the conflict or the impact and effects of COVID-19”.
With support from Japan, UNDP is working with national and local authorities to enhance stabilization and local peace processes across the country through provision of basic services, enhancing access to medical services for people in remote areas through the Telemedicine Initiative, and development of local economic initiatives.