As Rwanda prepares to mark this year’s May Day tomorrow, it’s heartening that the Government is creating more programmes to generate jobs for the youth.
The new National Employment Programme which kicks off in the 2014/2015 financial year is a bold step as it will ensure that graduates will not necessarily wait around for non-existent white collar jobs. The challenge will now be on youth and other unemployed persons to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the programme to improve their lives. Already, an almost similar programme operated by the City of Kigali (CoK) shows that such interventions are critical in tackling the problem of unemployment among the population, especially young graduates.
According to the Kigali Employment Services Centre, over 100 youth were helped to get jobs in various sectors across the country recently. This should be a good indicator to guide the architects of the National Employment Programme, especially in providing better and expanded services to job-seekers. Since the national initiative is also focusing on enhancing practical skills and providing loans to the youth to start businesses, it should go a long way in reducing unemployment and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship among the population.
However, as the Ministry of Labour says, the issue of underemployment requires innovative investments to address. So, focus should be on creating jobs that will drive the economy and change the lives of Rwandans, but not to create jobs that will exacerbate the problem of disguised and underemployment.
Also, let’s take stock of the current initiatives like the crafts production centres (Udukiriro) and the Business Development Fund that were supposed to encourage more youth to start and grow businesses and thus reduce unemployment.