12 September 2012

Rwanda: Youth Empowerment Schemes Commendable


Through what has been referred to as the Rwanda Innovation Endowment Fund (RIEF) government is offering financial support to young Rwandans with entrepreneurial projects.

This initiative, which will largely finance business plans within priority sectors like ICT and manufacturing, is worthwhile, considering that the country is moving towards a private sector-driven economy.

A private sector driven by young innovative minds is incomparable and the youth in this country have shown in previous similar initiatives, that they are more than capable, with the required tools.

The screening for the youth to qualify for financial support however should not stop at looking at priority areas, but also factor in issues like their geographical location, so that urban-centred youth do not become the sole beneficiaries.

Indeed, youth in the countryside should get priority, because rural investments have not been exploited as much as in urban areas, yet they too can have a great impact on the people living in the rural areas.

The Ministry of Education initiative, similar to the Hanga Umurimo that has been championed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, will go a long way in breaking old tradition where young people graduate looking to government for employment.

Private financial institutions, especially commercial banks, should join government initiatives and look at the youth as potential clients who can make profit from loans extended to them.

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