23 November 2012

Rwanda: Ensure Sustainability of New Jobs Scheme


THE World over, a country is judged on whether its economy creates enough jobs for its entire population. Parents are concerned that their children will not get a job after they leave school, college, university and consider their training meaningless if they end up without one.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Public Service and Labour, 125,000 Rwandans join the labour market annually. Lamentably, not all are absorbed into the job market.

But then again, where would a majority of the country's actively working population find gainful employment opportunities without the formidable presence of the small and medium businesses?

In reality, enterprises like supermarket outlets, electronic shops, bakeries, restaurants, flour mills, commercial motorcycles, taxis, consultancy firms, market vending, among numerous others, play a key role in creating productive and decent work that helps meet the economic and social aspirations of the Rwandan people especially the youth. They are a major source of growth and employment in the economy.

Those who run them play a central role in creating jobs and reducing poverty. In point of fact, most successful business people in Rwanda who commenced as small businesses are today big players in the job creation market.

Thursday's official launch of a new job creation scheme by the Minister of Public Service and Labour, Anastase Murekezi, is manifestly one of the key measures aimed at steadily addressing the issues of joblessness in the country. Dubbed Kuremera, it aims to create jobs through formation of cooperatives by facilitating the youth and women to easily access loans.

One key constraint cited in the preceding scheme, *Hanga Umurimo* scheme, was lack of finance to start up successful SMEs. But Kuremera seems to have resolved that tasking question that has since time immemorial affected our budding entrepreneurs.

While it is too impulsive to determine the direction the new scheme takes, signs are promising. According to the ministry, 10,000 Kigali women have so far benefited from a pilot project of the scheme since it began early this year.

What is vital now is to ensure the sustainability of the *Kuremera*initiative once it is rolled out countrywide, in order to invigorate the fortunes of SMEs so as to enable them to play their expected role in Rwanda's economic growth and development and give our youth and women hope for the future.

Ultimately, such homegrown schemes would upgrade the social status of every Rwandan youth, by showcasing them as successful entrepreneurs and SME operators.

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