National Employment Programme gets Rwf6.2 billion Swedish support

the country’s efforts to create more than 200,000 off farm jobs annually could be enhanced thanks to new grant from the Swedish government.

Government of Rwanda and Sweden, yesterday, signed a financing agreement worth US$ 7.4 million (about Rwf6.2 billion) in support of the National Employment Programme.

According to Claver Gatete, the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, the 2-year grant will play a critical role in conducting training in response to the needs of emerging investment companies with a special focus to those engaged in ‘Made-in-Rwanda’ products.

The EDPRS 2 recognises the important role of employment in economic development and poverty reduction and, accordingly, calls for 200,000 off-farm jobs to be created each year to meet the employment needs of the growing labour force, he said.

“This financial support will contribute toward the achievement of this endeavour,” he added.

The National Employment Programme (NEP) serves to strengthen coordination through establishment of a framework for better planning, implementation from different stakeholders engaged in job creation and promotion.

Youth and women will be able to access capital and finance through collateral support implemented by Business Development Fund (BDF).

This will eventually help create more jobs for the youth and increase their contribution to the national economic development, officials said.

Francois Kanimba, the Minister for Trade, Industry and East African Community Affairs, said the funding would support youth who are graduating under the TVET system to put to good use their technical skills through acquisition of startup toolkits for self-employment.

“Demand for startup capital, especially among the SMEs, has been growing. It makes this particular grant timely in terms of supporting those craftsmen and women operating in clusters, mainly those operating in Integrated Craft Production Centres (ICPCs) to upgrade their skills and acquire modern production equipment to enhance the quality of their products,” Kanimba said.

Meanwhile, the Swedish Ambassador to Rwanda, Jenny Ohlsson, reaffirmed Sweden’s continuous support to Rwanda to help drive sustainable development.

“We appreciate all the efforts of implementing NEP as a nationwide employment programme, which has been a huge undertaking for all the institutions involved and resulted in great achievements,” she said.