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Training Entrepreneurs in Ethiopia

From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report in Special English. The Ethiopian government and the United Nations Development Program, or UNDP, have launched a three-year program. They plan to train more than 200,000 entrepreneurs. Government and UNDP officials say the businesses set up by these men and women could create more than 1 million jobs in Ethiopia.

The country's minister of urban development and construction, Mekuria Haile, says Ethiopians need to change their way of thinking. He says that instead of looking for jobs, people need to become social and economic entrepreneurs who create jobs. The Ethiopian government and the UNDP are interested in people wanting to set up small- and medium-sized companies.

The development program is expected to cost $26 million dollars. So far, the UNDP has supplied $6 million. The program is based on four main ideas: institutional development, entrepreneurship training, business development services, and partnerships. Eugene Owusu works in Ethiopia for the UNDP. He says more needs to be done to reduce bureaucratic rules and increase access to credit in the country. Ethiopia has one of the world's fastest-growing economies. But it is 174th on the UNDP's Human Development Index.

Human development has improved in Ethiopia during the past 20 years. But almost one third of the people live in poverty. And the need for jobs and economic growth is urgent. In Africa, Ethiopia's population is second only to Nigeria. And Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn says a majority of the country is under the age of 25.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Carolyn Presutti. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 22Feb2013)