The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Agribusinesses to Facilitate Job Creation

Agribusinesses and processing firms are on top of the government agenda to create more off farm jobs to pave way for the country's target to become a middle income economy.

It is said that the country has huge potential in the two areas which once exploited would create the proposed 200,000 jobs annually.

Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philibert Nsengimana, says that there is a huge potential in value added products that is yet to be exploited.

"I believe if you compare the growth of the population and how both local and international markets demand for food stuffs is increasing, you can see there is a big opportunity in the sector," he said

The government is looking at the private sector to create over 3.2 million off-farm jobs which is 50 percent of the workforce by 2020 up from 1.4million equivalent to 28 percent of the workforce as of 2011.

The Minister believes that empowering young entrepreneurs in the country's fastest growing sectors will help to speed up job creation.

"In fact, changes are never done by a bunch of guys; remember that the power of one is power of all," he said, adding that there is need to support any young entrepreneur who may have a project that would empower others.

Private sector gurus challenge businesses to participate in development projects that aim at improving the livelihoods of people and promoting inclusive growth.

Hannington Namara, Chief Executive Officer, Private Sector Federation says that private sector participation in developing the growth of the economy is vital.

He said that for the economy to grow, it depends on the private sector and questioned what operators have done to support this.

He made the remarks recently when Skol Brewery Ltd presented its contribution worth Rwf 5 million towards the Agaciro Development Fund-AgDF. British American Tobbacco-BAT Rwanda also handed in their contribution worth Rwf 15.4 million to the fund, a move seen as a private sector's initiative to endorse government's development efforts.

Namara noted that the participation of the private sector towards Agaciro Development Fund is the commitment of the sector to support government development initiatives, adding that the participation of international companies boosts the initiative.

"Things are changing at a high pace; we have a government that works like a corporate and we must be part of this development for inclusive growth," said Mark Mugarura, Marketing Director, Skol Brewery.

The fund that was launched by President Kagame in August this year, has bagged over Rwf20 billion, which experts say indicates the tremendous support Rwandans have in contributing towards the country's development efforts.

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