The prevailing stability in the country, coupled with favourable socio-economic policies, are perfect for the youth to exploit in order to gain self-sustenance and play a role in developing the country, Minister Jean Philbert Nsengimana has said.
The youth and ICT minister was speaking, on Friday, as Rwanda joined the international community to mark the UN International Youth Day.
Nsengimana said the youth can use available financial and other services to modernise farming and ensure value addition in their endeavours.
“The youth can make use of the available opportunities. There is an environment to enable the youth study, get start-up capital, form associations and create cooperatives. The youth leadership at all levels should be close to them,” he said.
At the national level, the celebration took place in Muganza Sector, Rusizi District, and was marked under the theme, “Quality Work in ICT.”
The celebrations were combined with the launch of an ICT awareness campaign, “Koranubuhanga,” aimed at sensitising Rwandans to use ICT for better and quick services, such as Irembo and e-Payment systems.
The Government’s focus is to ensure that ICT-based services are availed even in remote areas.
The minister encouraged the youth to work in cooperatives to achieve better results together.
He said the youth in Rusizi District have an environment that they can make use of, including the Kivu Lake and Nyungwe National Park.
“The park attracts tourists, and the lake is used for fishing. Nkombo residents told us that the larger part of their economy is based on fishing, but you realise that the activity is not modernised. These activities offer opportunities for the youth to thrive,” Nsengimana said.
He also cited opportunities in small livestock rearing, which he said have ready market across the border in DR Congo.
“We are going to help them in small livestock keeping because they are near a huge market,” he said.
The minister reaffirmed commitment to help the youth benefit from government financial services through Business Development Fund (BDF), which covers up to 75 per cent of the needed guarantee to secure loan for start-up capital for business.
The youth were cautioned against drug abuse, which has proven to be detrimental to lives of youngsters.
Need to work closely with the youth
Clarise Uwanyirigira, the coordinator of National Youth Council, said youth participation can be in varied activities, including agriculture and animal husbandry, and art and crafts.
Speaking from Nyaruguru District, Uwanyirigira said there is need for market search for youth crafts products, since “many youth make products at home because ‘udukiriro’ (SME workshops) are still few and they lack market.”
Reach for Change Africa regional director Amma Lartey said to address priority issues like poverty and sustainable development, more actors need to get involved in supporting social entrepreneurship, a sector already dominated by the youth.
“Social entrepreneurship has the power to create lasting, systemic change for the youth and by youth. Many of the social entrepreneurs we support started out when they were youth and they’ve been able to build sustainable social enterprises that address critical issues in society,” he said.
Reach for Change is a non-profit organisation that seeks to improve the lives of children and youth by supporting social entrepreneurs to turn their dreams into sustainable and scalable ventures with the power to alter societies, creating better lives for children.
International Youth Day has been marked annually since 2000 to draw attention to cultural and legal issues surrounding youth.