Youth unemployment is a global problem and every country is grappling with it. For Rwanda, it is among the priority areas in government’s Economic Development and Poverty Reduction (EDPRS2) strategy which includes a target of creating at least 200,000 off-farm jobs annually.
With the efforts already in place fighting unemployment in Rwanda is not a lost battle and with more multi-pronged approaches it can be reduced to minimal figures. That’s why the Prime Minister, Anastase Murekezi, was spot on when he encouraged government agencies and the private sector to intensify efforts to help reduce unemployment, especially among young graduates.
With universities churning out thousands of graduates every year, collective efforts are required to tackle unemployment. Government agencies, the Private Sector Federation (PSF), universities and other tertiary institutions must work toward creating skilled graduates.
Programmes like Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and the Hanga Umurimo initiative should be strengthened to equip the youth with hands-on skills to be able to start their own enterprises and create more jobs.
Universities also need to partner with the private sector to ensure that training provided by institutions of higher learning meets the job-market demands to avoid a mismatch. Leaders, especially in City of Kigali, face a big task of ensuring that the 14 per cent unemployment rate is reduced to single digit figures.
Initiatives like the ‘free markets’ earmarked for different city suburbs could come in handy or any other tailored projects that could help reduce unemployment in the city and across the country, generally. Youth should also be encouraged to ‘return to the villages’ to carry out commercial agriculture, which has a big multiplier effect in as far as creating jobs is concerned.
Many of the unemployed youth in urban areas could be carrying out productive activities if they returned to their home villages to do farming or any other commercial enterprise.