Regional investors, researchers and policymakers from the East African Community (EAC) will on Monday convene in Kigali to discuss ways of tackling youth unemployment in the region.
The forum, organised by the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR- Rwanda) in partnership with Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), is expected to attract more than 100 delegates.
The forum will run under the theme; “What strategies can we adopt to incorporate youth within labour markets in East Africa.”
We intend to discuss approaches which can be used to incorporate youth into labour markets in East Africa, Eugenia Kayitesi, Executive Director, IPAR-Rwanda, said.
“We want to showcase new innovations and how they can be translated into practical solutions to create more job opportunities in the region,” Kayitesi said during a news briefing in Kigali yesterday.
The meeting will provide an opportunity to reflect and share experiences with all stakeholders in order to come up with concrete solutions for youth unemployment, she added.
Dickson Malunda, a senior researcher and economist at IPAR- Rwanda, said that despite impressive growth rates in East Africa, poverty and unemployment remain a challenge.
“Given the rapid population growth in Africa and the inability by governments to create enough jobs for the youth, there is fear that gains in poverty reduction achieved over time may be reversed,” Malunda said.
He challenged the youth to seek employment globally.
“Research, coupled with experience sharing between regional countries, are critical in addressing youth unemployment ,” said Arjan de Haan, Programme Leader of IDRC’s supporting inclusive growth programme.
Rwanda’s unemployment rate is currently at 3 per cent. However, there are doubts whether this figure actually reflects the situation on the ground.
According to the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS2), government is targeting to create more than 200,000 off farm jobs and efforts are ongoing to ensure that this dream becomes a reality by 2017.