The Government and the World Bank on Monday signed a $120 million (about Rwf100 billion) financial agreement to support skills development across multiple sectors of the economy.
The 38-year concessional loan, according to Finance and Economic Planning minister Claver Gatete, will mainly focus on priority sectors, including manufacturing, energy, transport and logistics, among other sectors.
The 3-year Priority Skills Programme for Growth (PSG) project will focus on high priority economic sectors, including energy, transport and logistics, and manufacturing with a focus on ‘Made in Rwanda’ products, Minister Gatete said during the signing ceremony in Kigali.
He further told The New Times that the loan is affordable.
It is the cheapest we have negotiated and will attract 0.75 per cent for at least a period of 38 years, including 10 years of grace period.
“The programme will ensure provision of quality skills that are market relevant for sustained employability,” Gatete said.
The project will be implemented by the newly created Capacity Building and Employment Services Board (CESB) and the Ministry of Education with the support of Rwanda Development Bank (BRD), Higher Education Council (HEC), Rwanda Polytechnics (RP), University of Rwanda and Workforce Development Authority (WDA).
All parties appended signatures committing to the terms and conditions of the deal.
The programme will reinforce skills development system, ensure provision of quality training programmes with market relevance, and expand opportunities for continuous upgrading of job-relevant skills for sustained employability, said Dr Papias Malimba Musafiri, the Minister for Education.
“We are trying to build a robust education system that will help bridge the skills gap across the country, thus accelerating economic growth,” Musafiri said, adding that the ministry is currently engaging the private sector to further understand labour market requirements.
According to Judith Uwizeye, the Minister for Public Service and Labour, more resources are needed to build capacity in sectors like manufacturing to support Rwanda’s economic sustainability.
“It’s clear that some sectors, including ICT and health, still need support in terms of skills development which makes this support timely,” she noted.
Meanwhile, the World Bank Group has reaffirmed its commitment to continue supporting Rwanda’s economic development agenda.
The World Bank’s country manager, Yasser El Gammal, called the support a direct boost to the country’s second economic development and poverty reduction strategy (EDPRS2) that could help propel Rwanda into a middle income economy.
“It will also help Rwanda achieve its target of creating more than 200,000 off-farm jobs annually as prescribed in the EDPRS2 blue print.”
The Government and the World Bank Group last week signed a $50 million (about Rwf42 billion) funding agreement to enhance power connectivity through off-grid solutions.
The money will be channelled through Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) under the newly-created Rwanda Renewable Energy Fund.