KIGALI - Unproductive mindsets, lack of appropriate skills and limited access to financial services were revealed as the outstanding factors barring the youth from attaining considerable levels of development.
According to a youth mapping research done by Youth Employment Opportunities (YES Rwanda) in all the 30 districts, the youth in Rwanda are facing major challenges which hamper their development and that of the country as a whole.
The report revealed that a huge segment of the youth is affected by ignorance which stems from their lack of access to information on pertinent issues which could have improved their lives.
The survey which was done on people ranging from 14-35 years of age, indicated that youth are currently facing a pressing challenge of inability to access financial and credit services which has downplayed their business ambitions.
“Access to finance is one of the most critical issues youth entrepreneurs face today.
With little contribution or collateral, many youth are not eligible for loans from regular financial institutions “For more flexible institutions willing to lend to youth, a prerequisite is often that these youth already be engaged in business,” reads part of the report
Among other challenges highlighted was limited support from local leaders, especially at stages when youth activities need it most.
The report indicates that some of the youth who are engaged in small scale income generating activities, and those involved in cooperatives, cannot develop them because they lack management skills.
Responding to the issue of constraints in accessing loans during a validation workshop for the report which brought together a number of stakeholders in youth affairs, Alfred Gatama, the Central Bank Project Analyst, noted that the youth being a risky group in terms of loans, banks get reluctant.
“The banks being profit oriented, find it risky to give their money to the youth who in most cases don’t have any security”.
He however revealed that if the youth are organised into cooperatives dealing in agricultural production, they can benefit from the Agricultural Guarantee Fund where the Central Bank has earmarked up to USD 1 m to develop agricultural projects.
Henry Clarke Kisembo, the Programs Manager of YES Rwanda, pointed out that among other issues, the ever increasing number of the youth tends to overwhelm the organisations dealing with their problems. He was also quick to note that this doesn’t rule out internal weaknesses in some of these organisations.
“Some organisations lack sustainability strategies which make them collapse after a year, thereby leaving the youth they have been supporting hanging,” he noted.
In an interview with Edward Kalisa the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Youth, he revealed that his ministry, in partnership with other youth stakeholders, is working on ways to create synergies in addressing youth problems
“We are mapping out a way of bringing together all youth interveners so that all interventions can be harmonised and well-coordinated,” he said
COJAD, a local youth credit institution, was found to be the only financial institution which has tried to support the youth. However, it was also found to be having problems and thus needs support itself.