RE: “Ministry of Youth in talent search” (The New Times, October 23). A perusal of the quite recent 2015 National Youth Policy reveals the following statistics:
1. 78% of Rwandans are between 0-35 years of age;
2. 29% (approximately 3 million) of Rwandans are between 16-30 years (the official international definition of a ‘youth’ 51% female and 49% male);
3. Of the youth mentioned here, 21% are in urban areas while 79% are in rural areas;
4. Real employment rate grew only by 0.2%;
5. 31% of the he youth face challenges related to access to finance while 28% face challenges due to procedures and lack of managerial experience;
6. 77% of over 16 workforce are in farm and informal sector employment.
A very nice set of measurable outcomes has been set out in the policy and includes:
1. Increased youth in jobs, productivity and economic empowerment;
2. Increased entrepreneurship and business development;
3. Improved youth well being;
4. Increased youth access to ICT;
5. Improved youth sports, leisure and recreation;
6. Improved youth attitude change in environment protection;
7. Youth delinquency reduced.
Given the numbers above and the wide ranging and much needed outcomes, it is clear that the government cannot do this alone. However, when it does, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning clearly needs to prioritise budget allocations for youth programmes given the high impact to the economy.
Clearly, there is ample room for civil society, and the abundance of NGOs/initiatives doing the above are numerous. The ministry has the big challenge of coordinating all these initiatives and I would propose that as NGOs are registered with Rwanda Governance Board, those specifically working with youth should be first be given a non-objection by the Ministry of Youth before being registered with the Board to enable more efficient resources into youth programmes.
For private sector participation, this is a demographic that private sector is always keen to invest in but I’m not sure what/how (suggestions most welcome) the ministry can engage more effectively the private sector.
Secondly, the idea of youth-friendly centres, in my opinion, is a good idea and needs to be strengthened not re-invented unless the idea has not worked with clear evidence. The above outcomes can easily be done within youth friendly centres structures in the country.
Let’s hope this policy can actually translate into tangible results in a couple of years.