The New Times (Kigali)

23 November 2012

Rwanda: Govt Unveils New Jobs Scheme

The Ministry of Public Service and Labour yesterday launched a new initiative that aims to create 1,000 jobs for youth and women.

Dubbed "Kuremera", it aims at creating jobs through cooperatives that will help them have easy access to loans from financial institutions.

Speaking at the launch in Kigali, the Minister of Public Service and Labour, Anastase Murekezi, explained that the new move will complement the ongoing Hanga Umurimo programme.

"There is a problem that when the youth or women have bankable projects through the Hanga Umurimo project, financial institutions are not ready to give them loans as start-ups to implement their plans due to lack of security or assurance to pay back," Murekezi said.

He explained that the new programme will do away with the challenge, saying efforts are in place to ensure that the young population engages in various small and medium economic activities that will act as a basis to engage financial institutions to extend loans to the envisaged cooperatives.

"Through these activities, the cooperatives will have a source of income before accessing loans to expand their businesses," he said.

He said the initiative would reduce the unemployment rate in the country. Reports from the ministry indicate that 125,000 people join the labour market annually though not all are employed.

The initiative is also designed to spur employment among various groups, including the unskilled, semi-skilled and the disabled. It also incorporates an identification process to single out beneficiaries.

Beneficiaries will either obtain financial support to boost their activities or purchase equipment. The latter includes tailoring machines, small scale milling plants, bicycles, and hair dressing equipment, among others.

This initiative was one of the recommendations of this year's national leadership retreat to respond to unemployment challenges through job creation.

The pilot project of the initiative that started early this year has so far benefited 10,000 women in Kigali, and would later be rolled out countrywide.

One of the beneficiaries, Immaculee Mukandayambaje, a street vendor in Kigali City, says the initiative has helped her avoid frequent running battles with city authorities acknowledging that her activities clearly violated city regulations.

She revealed that alongside other former women hawkers, they have formed an association dubbed Igitekerezo Gatsata.

"We are now operating from a market place and since we are organised in an association, we are able to work with financial institutions," she noted.

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