A section of Rwandan youth, yesterday, met with different stakeholders at Kigali Impact Hub under the auspices of a project dubbed “Road to Nairobi 2016”, that aims at promoting youth employment and inspire African and global leaders by showcasing how young people can make a difference for their generation.
In attendance was Jilt Van Schayik, founder of the Road to Nairobi 2016 project and Building Bridges; Pieter Dorst, Head of Development Cooperation at Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands; William Furaha, the Youth Empowerment Programme Manager in the Ministry of Youth and ICT; Alice Igiraneza, Building Bridges Rwandan Youth Ambassador; young entrepreneurs; policy makers and academics.
Schayik said the project targets to teach young youth entrepreneurs the culture of putting their skills into practice.
“Road to Nairobi teaches young entrepreneurs to broaden their mindsets and create employment. It requires them to be hardworking and use their acquired skills in health, agri-business, solar energy, among others,” Schayik explained.
Dorst said the youth are the sing most important catalyst of the world’s development.
“The whole world depends on the youth. It is why Embassy of The Kingdom of the Netherlands is encouraging the youth to create employment,” he said.
During the session, 10 selected Rwandan young entrepreneurs presented their entrepreneurial projects as solutions to youth unemployment and contribution to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
‘Road to Nairobi 2016’ brings together youth entrepreneurs from eight African countries that include Rwanda, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
According to Alice Igiraneza, a team traveled to various areas of the country including Rubavu, Musanze, Kirehe, Gicumbi and Kigali to examine youth initiatives and business proposals.
At least 400 young entrepreneurs presented their businesses concept and only ten were selected.
Furaha added that having many youths who create employment will change youth mindsets for the better and contribute to the country’s development.
Road to Nairobi 2016 will hold the second high-level global meeting for effective development cooperation in Nairobi from November 30 to December 1, to discuss challenges that youth from the eight countries face and the solutions to overcome them.
In Rwanda, unemployment rate among the youth aged between 16 and 30 years is at 3.3% at the national level, 12 % in urban areas, and at 13.5% among university graduates, recent findings showed.
Clarisse Murekatete, a 23 year-old undergraduate in Architecture at the College of Science and Technology, presented an agro-processing project on transforming orange-fleshed sweet potatoes into bakery products.
She said the project was one of the key solutions to empower young female entrepreneurs.
“This project is the voice of the girls. It enables young female entrepreneurs to exploit their environment and expose their hidden skills. It values women,” she said.
As for Muzamir Ruhimbana, a 21 year-old senior six student at Martyrs Secondary School in Kigali, he said the project will expose young entrepreneurs to the international scene.
“It is necessary for young people to get space to showcase their skills,” Ruhimbana said, adding that it will teach them to be competitive members of society who contribute to building the future of their country.