GroFin partners with Mastercard Foundation on US$50M youth employment initiative in Rwanda

A chef shows off his skills during a recent cooking competition. Rwanda’s growing hospitality industry is set to benefit from Mastercard’s financing dedicated to the youth and women with interests in the sector. File

Private development finance institution GroFin has partnered with Mastercard Foundation to support small businesses and entrepreneurs in the tourism and hospitality sector through increased access to financial services and capacity building.

Mastercard’s five-year initiative dubbed Hanga Ahazaza is expected to alleviate poverty by increasing employment opportunities for young people. The US $50 million (Rwf 43.3 billion) initiative aligns with GroFin’s focus on increasing employment opportunities for youth and women.

Hanga Ahazaza, meaning ‘create the future’ in Kinyarwanda, will equip 30,000 young men and women with the skills they need to transition to employment and increase access to financial services and business development skills for small businesses in this thriving sector.

“Working together, we will support small businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector and ensure the sector can find qualified young people with the skills needed to be successful employees or entrepreneurs,” says Guido Boysen, the CEO of GroFin.

Over the next three years, the Fund will invest in 12 small enterprises operating in the tourism and hospitality sector of Rwanda.

GroFin will screen and identify 120 small and growing businesses in this sector to provide pre-finance business development assistance. Of these, 12 are expected to go on to qualify for GroFin’s investment and post-finance business support.

These businesses will be chosen based on their potential to impact economically disadvantaged individuals, with focus on small enterprises that employ a substantial proportion of youth and women, as well as those that are owned by women.

Using this approach, GroFin’s activities will sustain a total of 1,200 jobs and support 4,500 livelihoods for economically disadvantaged individuals. Two-thirds of these jobs will be created and sustained for youth and women.

“We look forward to collaborating with GroFin as part of the Hanga Ahazaza initiative. “Their unique approach to providing a combination of appropriate finance, tailored business support and market linkages will help small businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector reach their full potential and generate more employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for young people,” said Rica Rwigamba, Program Manager at the Mastercard Foundation.


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