Rwanda: Youth ministry targets 100,000 jobs in one year

By (Michel Nkurunziza)

The Ministry of Youth will help create 100,000 jobs for the youth in the next financial year, that starts August 2019 through July 2020, a cabinet minister has said.

Rosemary Mbabazi, the Youth minister, was on Friday speaking to Saturday Times in Kigali after emerging from a meeting with members of the Chamber of Deputies’ standing committee on national budget and patrimony that focused on the ministry’s budgetary allocation for the next fiscal year.

The Youth ministry was allocated Rwf1.9 billion for the next fiscal year, up from Rwf1.7 billion it received for the current fiscal year.

Considering that the budget is not sufficient, Mbabazi said, the ministry was looking into ways to mobilise more funding from other sources, including through projects running under the National Employment Programme.

NEP is backed by development partners.

“Our focus is on developing projects for the youth,” she said. “The top priority is to avail the youth opportunities to create jobs in agri-business, environmental protection, ICT, tourism and arts.”

She said her ministry will continue to support the youth with different talents to turn them into viable projects.

This, she said, will be done in partnership with the Ministry of Sports and Culture and Imbuto Foundation.

“Last year we conducted talent auditions across the country, attracting about 2,400 youths with different talents part,” she said, in reference to the inaugural Art Ubuhanzi competition.

The talent search lasted for two months, ending in December 2018.

We identified about 600 youths that stood out, she said. “From these we selected 70 who went to the boot camp for specific trainings and we gave them about Rwf33 million in start-up capital to develop their talent,” she said, adding that this project shored up job-creation efforts.

Minister Mbabazi said that some of the talented youths were now working in cooperatives to promote Made-in-Rwanda products in fashion, film, cinematography and writing, among other areas.

“We will also incubate the others for six months after which we will link them to the industry,” he said.

She said the annual YouthConnekt contest was another avenue forjob opportunities for young people.

“We select three projects from each district and come up with 90 projects at the national level. So far, we have established a network of 626 youths who have all received awards,” she said. “They managed to create companies and have hitherto created 8,309 jobs for other youths,” she said.

And, next year, Mbabazi said, the ministry will roll out a new competition for TVET students, dubbed ‘TVET Challenge’. The idea is to help mobilise capital for TVET graduates so they can go on and create jobs, she said, adding they hoped the students will leverage their skills and innovations.

Environment is another area which the ministry intends to exploit to help create jobs for the youth, she said.

Over 2,500 jobs will be created under the Nyabarongo Rriver Catchment project and other green undertakings under the Youth Eco-Brigades initiative, the minister noted.

This is part of a broader strategy to encourage the youth to partake in efforts to protect the environment, she added.

“We have trained about 500 youths and 2,000 others will be prepared for this project as well,” she said. “We prepare them in a way that they embrace the saving culture and make use of financial institutions so that even after the project has folded they will be in position to continue running businesses and creating jobs,” she said.

Youth constitute about 70 per cent of Rwanda’s population, with 77 per cent of them living in rural areas.

Tackling unemployment, especially among the youth, is one of the top priorities of the Government, which has committed to creating at least 200,000 off-farm jobs annually.