Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

13 December 2012

Rwanda: Young Innovators Rewarded in Inkera Y'imihigo

Thirty youth from all the districts in the country were yesterday rewarded at the National YouthConnekt Convention, for having created jobs and contributed to self and national development through their innovations.

Three of the 30 innovators were named the overall winners. They are Diogene Dusengumuremyi from Nyarugenge district (Kigali city) who has a youth technology company. He came third while Ephrem Inganji, an owner of a brewery in Rwamagana district (Eastern Province) was named second overall innovator. The overall winner was Ange Imanishimwe, a beekeeper from Nyamagabe district (Southern province) who won Frw 3 million.

According to Imanishimwe, his beekeeping business is intertwined with other tourism activities in Nyungwe National Park.

"I have created a cooperative which keeps bees and sells natural honey. Since we started nine years ago, we have so far saved Rwf 50 million," he said.

It's from the coop that the idea of creating a cultural center in Nyungwe National Park came to Imanishimwe, and helped by RDB, built a center which exhibits issues regarding Rwanda's history, culture and tradition.

Imanishimwe's innovation has given jobs to over 650 individuals. Two third of the employees are the youth from the surrounding areas and others are experienced beekeeper swho are supposed to initiate the new comers.

"Our employees earn a salary of between Rwf 60,000 and Rwf 75,000 monthly."

Imanishimwe's coop (INSHUTI ZA NYUNGWE which translates Friends of Nyungwe) is now exporting honey to UK and the US.

After producing natural honey, Inshuti za Nyungwe forms candles from the remaining waste. They target to build a Rwf 900 million honey factory, which will held them enhance the quantity and add value to their products.

"We believe that it's possible. With our hard work and commitment we'll get there," he told The Rwanda Focus.

According Jean-Philibert Nsengimana, the minister of Youth and ICT, innovations such as Imanishimwe's play a huge role in the country's development and reflect the county's stand and goals towards a sustainable future.

"That's how we'll get to be self-reliable," he stressed.

During the event, the youth, participants in the National YouthConnekt convention, expressed ideas and recommendations to be brought to the National Dialogue taking place today. Their Ideas mainly aim at promoting principals and values of self-reliability in Rwanda, EDPRS 2-Achieving self-reliance, Innovative financing towards self-reliance, strategic skills and employment for youth.

They (youth) presented their performance contracts for the coming year (till the Next youthconnekt convention). The performance contracts include: Pushing each other, fighting drugs, 3000 project proposals (from the youth in each sector countrywide ) to be brought to the Business Development Fund for funding. They also agreed that they will create at least one youth cooperative in each sector nationwide.

"With 104,000 jobs available a year, we have more than 125,000 job seekers. Through your spirit of innovation, we will fill in this gap," commended Anastase Murekezi, that Minister of Labor and Public Service, who was the guest of honor. "We are happy to see youth who already have solutions to the problems we face. We count on you, and our country's economic growth lies in your commitment and ideas. You are the fresh and active power of this country."

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