Rwanda fairs well on Africa’s development indicators

Indicators studied include the performance of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita performance, implementation of Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) and having a favorable business environment among others.

Indicators studied include the performance of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita performance, implementation of Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) and having a favorable business environment among others.

Rwanda is one of the few countries in Africa that have recorded improvement in Africa’s development indicators, according to a World Bank report.

Research done by the World Bank and published in the, ‘African Development Indicators (ADI) 2008/09 Report’, shows that countries emerging from conflicts like Rwanda, have shown a more positive approach in formulating policies which exclusively cover the needs of the youth.

The report was released in Johannesburg by the World Bank last week.
The World Bank sponsored report was officially availed to the press in a video conference that attracted selected youth leaders from Africa.
Indicators studied include the performance of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita performance, implementation of Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) and having a favorable business environment among others.
This years report mainly focuses on the youth, emphasizing multi-sectoral approach by African states to increase job creation and opportunities for young people.
A subsidiary of the report titled ‘Youth and Employment in Africa: The potential, the problem, the promise’ calls upon African countries to adopt a range of actions that could help them (countries) deal with the youth unemployment challenge currently faced by many especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Recent statistics show that 3 out of 5 unemployed persons are youth, making 60 percent of the total unemployed in Africa youth aged between 15 and 24.
New research also shows that 72 percent of the youth especially in Sub-Saharan Africa live on less than $2 daily yet they make up 40 percent of Africa’s total working population, something that sends bad signals to development in a continent where over 200m people, about 20 percent of the total population are officially recorded to be within the youth bracket.

Hope for Rwanda’s youth
Rwanda’s recorded improvement in implementing favorable youth policies can be traced back in 2004 when the Rwandan government under the leadership of President Paul Kagame showed interest and commitment to promote youth employment in order to ensure sustainable and productive work for young people.

According to the World Bank, as a result, the government and other development stakeholders have initiated several projects which have helped the youth especially in rural areas engage in gainful employment.

These projects which mainly target rural youth and are funded by the Government and donors have been vital if fostering peace and unity.

The World Bank notes that Rwandan youth in rural areas have shown positive attitude towards work and they are engaged in income generating activities such as farming projects, small scale businesses, youth cooperatives, construction and art and crafts.

“Where as the youth are experiencing higher levels of unemployment and underemployment and a much greater concentration in the informal sector than adults, there’s hope that in some countries especially those in the reconstruction phase like Rwanda and Liberia,” the report says.

Some of the notable projects identified where the youth are actively involved in Rwanda is making handcrafts such as the basket (Agaseke) project which has received international acclaim as well as developing talent through art and drama.

Also notable projects supported by development oriented NGO’s like SNV from Netherlands include the bee keeping project in areas like Byumba and Rushaki in the Northern Province.

Speaking to The New Times earlier, the Projects coordinator of the Second IFAD funded Rural Small and Micro enterprise Promotion Project (PPMER II) in Rwanda, Titus Gakwaya, said that most projects funded by the program ranging from agriculture to artisan activities heavily involve the youth as core members of the society.

“We have 3 components which include capacity building, organizational building and operational support where we offer technical support, training and also financial assistance through Micro-credit to all groups of people including the youth” said Gakwaya who had a delegation of bee keeping groups in the recently concluded Honey Expo in Kampala.

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