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As the Afghan economy continues to suffer in the wake of the armed conflict, the country's unemployment figures hit new highs. The country retains the highest levels of unemployment worldwide, with ILO figures setting the unemployment rate at 30 percent and the Afghan Ministry of Labour citing an actual unemployment rate of up to 35 percent. New models of employment are tried out whereby the EU supports a program on skills development that is due to start this spring in 12 Afghan provinces. Further vocational training options will be provided through the program, which the EU supports by improving the non-formal vocational training sector.
Job creation platforms have been set up to assist young people with acquiring job skills for opening small businesses. Last year, a reintegration program in Kabul taught returning migrants to sew curtains. The job skills program also helped returnees improving their computer skills. Participants were supported by a montly payment for the duration of the course, during which they learnt motorbike repair and engine maintenance.
A focus on generating employment in Afghanistan will help prevent irregular migration and promote the reintegration of returnees from neighbouring countries and Europe. The skills development program particularly targets twelve Afghan provinces with high numbers of migration as well as returnees.
A further problem are the insufficient working conditions and low income generation; through the Decent Work Country Program, the Afghan government aims at improving labour standards. Apart from unemployment and underemployment that renders insufficient income, part of the problem on the job market are the adverse working conditions and the predominance of informal work, as well as lacking social protection. Together with Afghanistan's Ministry of Labour, the EU will work on a €4 million technical cooperation program to steer the unformal segment of the vocational training sector towards training jobseekers in skills relevant for the job market, as well as assisting in managing regular labour migration.