The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Rural Youth Acquire Business Skills

Ruhango — More than 300 young people from the districts of Nyanza and Ruhango in the Southern Province have completed a three-month training in entrepreneurship.

The training was organised by TechnoServe, a local non -profit development organisation, through its Strengthening Rural Youth Development through Enterprise (STRYDE) programme.

The four-year programme seeks to ensure a successful transition for rural youth to economic independence through training, opportunity identification and support.

Participants were trained in personal effectiveness, personal finances, professional effectiveness and agri-business.

Speaking to The New Times, the trainees were optimistic that the acquired skills will help them improve their living conditions and contribute to the socio-transformation of their society.

"I have gained skills on how to manage my finances and how I can work with financial institutions to improve my activities," Vedaste Twagirimana, 18, of Mbuye Sector in Ruhango District said.

"I am a farmer and a stockbreeder. Through this training, I realised that working with banks is the best way to modernise my activities so as to improve the productivity. I no longer fear acquiring a loan as I know that if I manage the money well, it will help me grow".

Speaking at the function on Friday, Yvon Nshimiyimana, in charge of Entrepreneurship Policy at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, commended the initiative and said it was a positive step towards the development.

He noted that equipping young individuals with business skills will enable them to venture into various fields of activities towards a developed society.

"These young men and women have got a strong foundation to start from while building their careers. We hope that in the near future, they will have become strong entrepreneurs who will make an impact in their communities".

He told them that government has established a guarantee fund, the Business Development Fund (BDF), in a bid to ease access to credit for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Vincent Kalimba, the Coordinator of STRYDE programme in the Southern Province, said his organisation targets to train at least 3,500 young individuals in the four districts they are operating from (Nyanza, Ruhango, Musanze and Gakenke) by 2012.

"The aim is to help young individuals adopt positive behaviours and then equip them with enough skills which will allow them to develop innovative business ideas, implement them and manage their projects effectively", Kalimba said.

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