When 10 entrepreneurs, primarily young people, showcased their products at the Kigali Convention Centre on Friday, one could literally see what you can call the ‘Hope of Rwanda’. Under the 5th Bank of Kigali (BK) Urumuri Initiative, they did so in front of a panel of five judges. The audience, of which I was part, was impressed by the eloquence, initiative, and the sense of fixing Rwandan problems in the Rwandan context. To my delight, almost all of the pitches on that day were more or less about Made-in-Rwanda and how best to harness that home-grown initiative. It was incredible to witness Rwandan children use local help to bring solutions to their nation for themselves and their own people. Which portrays a more self-dependent future-Rwanda. It is not my place to say who did better than the others, and to be totally honest, human nature would compel me to check my phone or even become distracted during a presentation. But then a certain young lady stands up and walks in front. Her steps sure and confident, she draws my attention without asking, and I gladly give it. Her company, ‘Byose ni Bamboo,’ is a furniture producer that creates and distributes a variety of bamboo-based products. Starting off as three female friends, they were able to overcome the bamboo scarcity problem that had been a problem for their business by cultivating bamboo on their own. They received training and then returned the favor by training other young people, particularly teen mothers and TVET students in general. Impressed by her earnestness, I think I want to be like her when I grow up. But well our ages are not far apart. ‘Green Pack’ is another one that caught my attention. They demonstrated that learning about environmental protection is one thing, but putting it into practice is quite another. They make biodegradable packaging for the food and retail industries. Having eco-friendly solutions for even the most fundamental things such as food, which is grown in the environment, is as lovely as it sounds. I can’t help but urge all Rwandan youth to follow in their footsteps, and I’ll explain. It would be foolish not to take advantage of countless opportunities as young people in a country that incentivizes and encourages us to take up space and be the first to seize these opportunities. According to an analysis by TransUnion Rwanda, which administers the Credit Reference Bureau, Rwandan millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, appear to dominate the banking sector’s borrowing market, with 56.4 per cent, ahead of Gen X, born between 1965 and 1980, with 21.5 per cent. It also shows that mobile loans are more popular among Gen Z, those born between 1997 and now, accounting for 68.2 per cent of total loans, compared to 56.3 per cent for millennials, indicating that young people in Rwanda dominate loan uptake. What this implies for us is that Rwandan youngsters now have easier access to funds than ever before. It implies that those of us (young people) who don’t have much in the form of collateral for loans or even work, can pursue our aspirations. It is a watershed moment in our development for those with great ideas but with little or no resources. According to the Fourth Rwanda Population and Housing Census of 2012, Rwanda has a youthful population, with 52 per cent of women and 48 per cent of men. So, what would be the country’s future if the youth were not actively involved in economic activity? What hope would we have if our women/girls were not in such needed positions of influence? For Rwanda as a country or Africa as a whole, beneficial urbanization, infrastructure development, job creation, and climate change regulation all require excellent governance, quality education, and adequate healthcare. But, most especially, if resources are made available, particularly to the proper individuals. Supporting and nurturing Rwandan youth now and in the future will pave the road for the realization of the Rwandan ideal, long-term and sustainable development. It would be great to see more stakeholders, investors, organizations, and individuals with the ability to help young people to do so and to do so soon. The writer is a journalist and podcaster with The New Times.