Like elsewhere in the world, Rwanda is gearing up for the International Labour Day that falls on May 1, with officials announcing that the country will seek to promote entrepreneurial spirit among the youth.
With unemployment and underemployment continuing to pose a threat to the country’s economic aspirations, at least in the long-term, the importance of entrepreneurship to Rwanda’s ambitions cannot be overemphasized.
Therefore, the emphasis on self-employment, especially among graduates and other young members of society, is a key ingredient in efforts to ensure that Rwandans do not only beat the poverty trap but also create wealth to sustain themselves and to be able to bequeath to the next generation a better country.
Over the last couple of years, the Government has devised different strategies to help deal with the issue of unemployment, including extending affordable loans and other incentives to young innovators and entrepreneurs, promoting a hands-on technical and vocational education and training system, and continually easing doing business in the country.
Nonetheless, many of our young people continue to drag their feet whenever the idea of creating their own employment has come up, preferring instead to go hunting for the increasingly elusive white collar jobs.
This attitude must be discouraged if this country’s manufacturing and services sectors are to be transformed and help impact both household and national incomes.
The Ministry of Public Service and Labour has organized what it calls a ‘Labour Week’, beginning Monday, in the run up to the May Day, and it is a noble effort. Nonetheless, such campaigns should be conducted more regularly, especially targeting schools, tertiary institutions and community gatherings to ensure that students and other youths not only fully embrace the entrepreneurial spirit but also understand what it truly takes to become a successful businessperson.
There is also need to undertake a holistic review of the existing strategies designed to promote entrepreneurship in the country, measure their impact on the ground, and make the necessary adjustments for a more meaningful impact.
No effort should be spared in the quest to create a truly entrepreneurial culture and society.