Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi has called on regional employment experts to reflect on the problems affecting the labour market in regional countries and come up with tangible remedies to the prevailing skills gap.
Such problems include low levels of investment, and productivity, disparities between education and labour market, among others.
The premier said this, yesterday, while opening the second Regional Employment Forum in Kigali, which brought together experts and policymakers from eastern and southern Africa, held under the theme; ‘promoting productive employment by supporting young entrepreneurs’.
Murekezi said unemployment and underemployment challenges have also become issues of global concern requiring leaders to understand that unemployment is a combination of several factors that need combined solutions.
“According to the 2015 International Labor Organisation report, almost 43 per cent of the global youth labour force is still unemployed or working yet living in poverty. Therefore, all nations need to join hands to ensure that this problem is well addressed,” he said.
“We have to leverage networks for sharing information on opportunities and potential of regional integration initiatives.”
Latest statistics indicate that the unemployment rate among active youth (16–30) was 3.3 per cent at the national level and 12 per cent in urban areas, while it stands at 13.5 per cent among graduates.
According to Judith Uwizeye, the minister for public service and labour, consistent conversation between different players will help find solutions to such issues as employment in society.
She commended the different initiatives in the country which are geared at improving levels of employment.
“There is a commendable effort on the part of job creators, especially in businesses, the remaining issue is about university graduates who are not immediately employed which we are also addressing through internship placements,” she said.
During the meeting, experts pushed for a community-based approach in addressing unemployment, and engaging the private sector which has been very reluctant in hiring more workers over financial constraints.
“It’s about engaging the community, it should start from the community level, it begins with you, it is also about changing the mindset, exploring potentials of youth to create jobs.
“Thus, the role of the government, private sector and development partners would be to show the way to explore business potentials,” said Abebe Nigatu, a director at World Vision in charge of people and culture.