Rwanda targets to create 1.5 million decent jobs, according to the Government’s seven-year programme which will run through 2024.
The government target has been to create 200,000 off-farm jobs per annum, but just over 140,000 jobs are created, according to the Fourth Integrated Households Living Survey by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR).
Speaking at the National Dialogue Council (Umushyikirano) 2017, yesterday, Clare Akamanzi, the CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), said that the private sector is at the centre of the new national strategy of transformation for sustainable development.
Indeed, about 93 per cent of the workforce is employed by the private sector, while the public sector takes on only about 7 per cent of labour force.
Creating profitable and quality jobs which are viable need concerted efforts to address the issues of short-lived businesses which is a challenge for fresh entrepreneurs, said Céphas Nshimyumuremyi, an entrepreneur and founder of Uburanga Products Ltd, a Musanze District-based company that makes soaps and cosmetics from locally grown herbs (plants).
“The government should make follow up to ensure the success of the created jobs. There is need to link university graduates to investors who have money so that they support effective implementation of profitable ideas and businesses,” he said.
The Minister of State in charge of Economic Planning, Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana, said that job creation mainly for the youth requires extra efforts to achieve the targets set by 2024.
The results of a Labour Force pilot survey released in June 2016 by National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda showed that unemployment rate stood at 13.2 per cent, whereby for every seven employed persons, there was one person unemployed.
To create more jobs for the youth, Ndagijimana added, will require extraordinary efforts in delivering quality education.
He continued that investment, mainly from the private sector, needs to increase every year to help create the needed jobs.
With current national saving, about 10% of Rwanda’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the minister said, savings need to scale up.
This rate needs to double for the implementation of the programme, he said.
The minister called for close monitoring and quality improvement of TVET centres due to high prospects of getting jobs for technical and vocational training students.
RDB’s Akamanzi added that innovation, and creativity are key to job creation as well as creating ideas and selling them.
Bridging trade deficit
Akamanzi said “the private sector we want is the one which can help create over 200,000 off-farm jobs per year and reduce trade deficit.’’
Compared to the same period last year, Rwanda’s exports increased by 50 per cent, while imports have declined by 3 per cent.
As a result, the country’s trade deficit fell by more than 20 per cent, in 2017, President Kagame said in his State of Nation address yesterday.“What we want from the private sector is to identify the areas which can rapidly create more jobs and can generate more revenues for Rwandans,” Akamanzi said.
She also said that to address the trade deficit, Rwanda wants to consider sectors in which it can manufacture products for export in line with promoting Made-in-Rwanda strategy, and scale-up businesses produce goods, such as textile manufacturing.
She cited C&H Garments, a textile company which produces clothes from Rwanda’s Kigali Special Economic Zone and employs about 1,700 Rwandans.
“We want value addition; we want to ensure that the products we sell abroad or make here (in Rwanda) including services, shift to high value,” she said.
Placide Tuyishimre, who owns a small agro-processing factory for banana in Musanze District, said that small entrepreneurs like him face skills challenges and difficulties in packaging as they depend on imported materials.
“We want more investment in agro-processing industries, including packaging materials. If need be, the government can also make some investment in this area,” he said.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Vincent Munyeshyaka, acknowledged challenges of packaging materials but noted that the government is in negotiations with investors to set up factories to make the materials locally.