There is need for more professionals to fill the existing human resource gap in the country’s financial sector, the Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), John Rwangombwa, has said.
Rwangombwa was officiating at the University of Rwanda (UR) graduation ceremony yesterday.
He said more than 50 per cent of financial experts employed in Rwanda are foreigners.
Yesterday, 2,275 students from the College of Business and Economics graduated with Masters, bachelors degrees and diplomas in different academic disciplines.
“Dear graduates, I am happy to welcome you to the financial and economic sector of our country,” Rwangombwa said.
“One of the major challenges facing the financial sector in this country is lack of skilled labour. More than 50 per cent of the managers of our financial institutions come from outside Rwanda. I challenge you to take up the challenge and fill these positions,” he said.
However, the Governor reminded the graduates that filling the vacancies occupied by expatriates requires not only academic qualifications but also competence.
“Remember it is not the degree papers that will determine if you are fit to be a manager, but rather your skills and ability to work. Soft skills that do not appear on your transcripts, such as, critical thinking, team building, problem solving, communication and creativity, ethical behaviour and will to learn will make you shine and make a difference in life,” he said.
Rwangombwa reminded the graduates that the national development agenda under the Vision 2020, is to empower the private sector, with private investment expected to contribute 20 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while public sector investment will be expected to contribute 10 per cent of GDP.
Today, private sector investment is about 11 per cent of GDP, which is far below the target.
“I would, therefore, encourage you to set up businesses that would grow our private sector. Government has set up schemes to enable those with great ideas to access financing through financial institutions,” he said.
Rwangombwa urged university authorities to create opportunities for local financial workers to enhance their skills, and improve their capacity.
“We need to go beyond traditional degree courses and establish short-term programmes that give hands-on skills to our staffs. The National Bank (of Rwanda) is ready and willing to partner with the College of Business and Economics to establish relevant programmes that would help close the skills gap in the financial sector,” Rwangombwa added.
He asked university officials to create avenues through which economic experts can interface with economics students.
“Comprehensive education is the way to economic prosperity. I appeal to all graduates to read more and enrich their knowledge,” Rwangombwa said.
Prof. James McWha, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Rwanda, described the maiden graduation after the merger of seven institutions as remarkable.
“The graduation is a milestone in your life and the life of the university. You are moving out into the world and employ your skills to make society better,” he told graduands.
“You have graduated from the biggest University in the country; indeed the only public university in Rwanda. I encourage you to keep the link as we support each other,” McWha said.
Dr Papias Musafiri Malimba, Principal, UR-College of Business and Economics challenged the graduates to champion entrepreneurship in Rwanda in a bid to attain national development objectives.
“This first graduation is truly a great moment for us, as we forge forward to delivering business and economics courses to students that are relevant to Rwanda’s economy and in line with Vision 2020,” Malimba said.
The University of Rwanda also passed out 71 students who graduated in Certified Public Accountancy. The College boasts of four main campuses which include Huye, Gikondo, Nyagatare and Rusizi.
This year has seen the College of Business Studies enter into various partnerships with regional and international institutions, in pursuit of academic excellence.
Yesterday, marked the second day of UR inaugural graduation ceremony, since the merger of seven public higher learning institutions into one University, in mid 2013.
The move to merge all public tertiary institutions into one entity was aimed at enhancing quality research, which would support the national development agenda.