Somebody might ask why this strategy is a means of addressing problems youths are faced with. Youths clustering into associations and cooperatives are a way to fulfil the government’s strategy of supporting youth development projects and the EDPRS goals.
The government is working with the National Youth Council structures to implement this.
Given the challenges faced by youth in the labour market, success in pursuing employment for young people requires patience, concerted actions, and a wide range of policies and programs- things that won’t be possible in fragmented and isolated interventions.
The roadmap for addressing youth challenges is an integrated and comprehensive strategy for rural development which covers the demand and supply sides of labour market and it takes into account the youth mobility from rural to urban areas.
The challenge of unemployment, that youth are facing today, makes it necessary for them to form and join cooperatives. Many programs are being designed to integrate youth into the labour market.
You may wonder why the government on supporting youth so much and there are various reasons for this. This is because young people make a great percentage of the total population.
The youth are Rwanda’s greatest assets but youth unemployment is much higher than that of the general labour force, they are more likely to do low paying jobs, more vulnerable to economic shocks and more vulnerable to early marriages and parenthood.
It is thus reasonable that youth to form and join cooperatives due to the benefits such as interaction, working together and thus acquiring experience, increased knowledge; therefore enhancing the whole economy.
The greatest advantage stemming from joining cooperatives is based on the productive-competitiveness wheel model.
In this model competitiveness is linked with productivity which is shaped by four elements that is Human resources, infrastructure, unit cost economies, technologies and innovativeness; all these work within the broader sector, regional, macro-economic, social and institutional environment.
To summarise, having youth cooperatives/clusters within a geographical area may reduce unit costs in at least five ways.
First of all, production costs may lower owing to continuous innovations, secondly youth within a cluster may enjoy economies related to first-mover advantages; thirdly, a cluster will benefit from external economies e.g. interaction.
In conclusion, youth must form and join cooperatives and benefit from the current government support and establish themselves, because without youth development our economy could face a serious problem in the future.
The writer is in charge of Economic Development (National Youth Council,Rwanda)