The New Times (Kigali)

27 April 2014

Rwanda: International Labour Conference Kicks Off in Kigali

A two-day national employment forum opens today in Kigali to provide a framework for stakeholders to share information on ways to confront challenges facing the youth and women toward access of decent jobs.

The symposium is organised by the Ministry of Public Service and Labour in collaboration with the City of Kigali, ahead of this year's Labour Day.

The meeting will provide a network for the youth to be aware about opportunities and ongoing programmes.

Under the theme, "Work for Self-Reliance," the meeting brings together experts from public service, private service, representatives of international organisations and employers to come up with strategies to address labour market imbalances.

The conference objectives are in line with achieving a middle economy status by the year 2020, which has ambitious targets such as providing 200,000 off farm jobs per year up from 104,000, jobs available currently yearly, according to a concept paper.

Like most African countries, Rwanda has a growing number of youth joining the labour market yearly, which is not commensurate with the available opportunities.

The challenges:

Statistics from the Ministry of Public Service indicate that about 125,000 youth join the labour market annually.

To address this, government has identified off-farm job creation as an important intervention to achieve the objectives outlined in the Vision 2020 goals, which can generate about 200,000 off farm jobs per year.

In a statement, the Minister for Public service and Labour, Anastate Murekezi, said employment has been underlined as one of the four thematic areas embedded in the Second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Some of the challenging areas to be tackled include high levels of underemployment in rural areas, insufficient non-farm jobs being created and high costs, and uncompetitive skilled labour for firms in urban areas.

"Collective efforts are required from the public sector, private sector, civil society and other stakeholders to find solutions that provide employability opportunities, especially for women and the youth," Murekezi said.

This being the third forum of its kind since 2011, the participants will review and evaluate the previous recommendations and their impacts.

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