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Switzerland allocates funds to support vocational training in Eritrea

Eritrean refugee at work in Switzerland

Eritrea is one of the most common countries of origin for asylum seekers in Switzerland.

(Keystone)

Switzerland will support various projects in Eritrea in the field of vocational education and training with CHF6 million ($6 million) over the next three years.

In addition, cooperation will be expanded to include economic development opportunities such as microcredit and support for the establishment of small businesses, the Swiss foreign ministry announced on Thursday.

The goal is “to strengthen the skills of young people from Eritrea in their country of origin in order to improve their prospects in life” and to boost “trust between the two governments and thus to expand the bilateral dialogue, especially on migration issues.”

The decision is in line with the recommendations of an external evaluation by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) following the first pilot phase for the resumption of development cooperation with Eritrea.

Following a fact-finding mission in 2017, the the humanitarian arm of the foreign affairs ministry gave priority to existing projects in the field of vocational training. Subsequently, three projects were supported over a period of two years with a total budget of CHF 4 million.

Switzerland is also mulling the appointment of a special envoy for the Horn of Africa with a regional mandate and a special focus on Eritrea. It will also boost its diplomatic presence in the Sudanese capital Khartoum to facilitate dialogue with the Eritrean atuhorities.

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