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The East African : July 21st 2014
14 The EastAfrican NEWS JULY 19-25,2014 UNEMPLOYMENT Rwanda youth at a graduation ceremony. Despite few opportunities, most prefer employment to starting their own outfits. Picture: File Rwanda’s new task: 200,000 jobs a year St≥ong economic g≥owth in the past decade has not t≥anslated into p≥oductive jobs By BERNA NAMATA The EastAfrican 200,000 jobside outside agriculture in the coming months to reduce poverty and sustain economic growth. Despite a decade of strong R economic growth with an average of slightly over 7 per cent, Rwanda still suffers from unemployment as this growth has not been sufficiently translated into productive jobs. The economy is generat- ing about 104,000 off-farm jobs annually, well below the annual average of 125,000 Rwandans entering the job market every year, according to the 2012 population census. Experts say the government has to pay attention to policies that promote sectors that enhance job creation such as manufacturing, agro-processing and service sectors. “Rwanda is a country of young people. A lot of work is needed to create productive jobs given that the some of those employed are also in lowly paid jobs,” said Dickson Malunda, an economist and senior researcher at Institute of Policy Analysis and Research Rwanda. Mr Malunda said the gov- ernment should increase access to finance and encourage entrepreneurship among graduates. “Most fresh graduates pre- fer to look for jobs. There is a need for a mentality shift to encourage entrepreneurship,” Mr Malunda said. According to the 2012 pop- ulation census, out of the estimated 5.89 million Rwandan working age population, 4.15 million or slightly more than seven in 10 are youth. Of the youth, two in every three or 2.7 million people are underemployed while 166,000 are out of work. Analysts say priority should be given to demand-driven education and training system, including a strong emphasis on practical training and on-the-job learning. “Over 60 per cent of the job-seekers are fresh graduates but most require addi- wanda faces an uphill task of creating at least NUMBERS STILL NOT ADDING UP According to the 2012 population census, out of the estimated 5.89 million Rwandan working age population, 4.15 million or slightly more than seven in 10 are youth. Of the youth, two in every three or 2.7 million are underemployed while 166,000 are out of work. The government and ONE UN Rwanda recently signed a financing agreement worth $28 million to support women and youth employment initiatives. tional training. It is mainly graduates from technical schools who find jobs easily. “Many university gradu- ates lack soft skills — they can’t express themselves,” said Aloys Niyonsaba, the manager of Kigali Employment Service Centre. The centre was set up to provide job-seekers with skills and information on employment opportunities. Mr Niyonsaba said the rate of unemployment in Kigali was at 13 per cent. The government and ONE UN Rwanda recently signed a financing agreement worth $28 million to support women and youth employment initiatives. “This programme is in- tended to contribute towards Rwanda’s inclusive growth, economic transformation and accelerate poverty reduction,” Lamin Manneh, the UN resident co-ordinator said. The government is target- ing to decrease the population dependent on agricultural activities from 72 per cent in 2006 to 50 per cent by the year 2020. For the 2014/ 15 fiscal year, the government is focusing on improving hands-on-skills through vocational training and taking 1,500 youth through industrial apprenticeships. It will also upgrade three community processing centres for craftsmen and artisans. It will also certify 800 business development advisors.
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