18 May 2017

Rwanda: New Deal Seeks to Encourage Investments in Youth Agribusiness

Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum (RYAF) has signed a five-year partnership with Ghanaian African Agribusiness Incubation Network (AAIN) to support youth in agribusiness.

The partnership is hinged on encouraging the youth to change their attitude and invest some money before seeking support from other partners as well as mobilising funding for youth agribusinesses.

Alex Ariho, the chief executive of AAIN, said the first capital is information and positive attitude.

"It is important that African youth and, particularly youth in Rwanda, acknowledge that they have got the first capital; the first capital in business is attitude you have toward what you intend to do, the second capital is information," Ariho said.

"I am happy to hear that the youth here are very active in terms of using ICT. If you are able to use social media, to use journalism to create a positive attitude to investors about investing, the third capital will come when you already have the two fundamental elements of investments: information and positive attitude."

He identified capital in different forms, including human capital, infrastructure, technology, seed investment and policy framework.

"For the youth to propose or to start businesses and create jobs, they need the four elements. We are committed to that partnership and will achieve it because youth have the four forms of capital," Ariho said.

He added that their priority in terms of investing in the youth will be to pick the four elements and package them into collaborative framework, between the African Agribusiness Incubator Network and the Government of Rwanda.

Ariho said they will also build youth capacity to learn successful businesses using incubation models particularly mentoring.

"Of course, we also target direct investment in youth trade and investments where we make sure that there is output and input market infrastructure development for the products that are produced by African youth, by the Rwandan youth and consumed there. We will ensure that in the next five to 10 years, we have created a number of jobs and increased income in households, among smallholder farmers, in SMEs and created new businesses," Ariho noted.

Speaking to the media, Jean Baptiste Hategekimana, the chairperson of RYAF, said the initiative will benefit more than 1,400 youths from the five clusters of the forum by equipping them with skills and other resources.

He said they expected fruitful impact from the agreement with AAIN because the signing comes after they have already begun working together.

"We do believe that with this partnership, we will be able to learn from other youth in Africa and learn through the ways they have passed and succeeded," Hategekimana said.

"As we are only a year into the forum, these people are experts on the continent and if we can plan a project together to train 200 youth or equip them with other support as well as bringing investors, it will be easy for us to understand the philosophy of success as we will be working with professionals in certain programmes," Hategekimana said.

Donat Nishyirembere, the in-charge of youth entrepreneurship at the National Youth Council, said the youth can gain from the incubation network to shape their ideas.

"The National Youth Council commits to support this initiative as we believe it will ensure access to the global markets and increase capacity for youth; and they will be able to take their businesses to another level," said Nishyirembere.

Pacifique Uwineza, the chairperson of chamber for youth entrepreneurs at the Private Sector Federation, said through networking, the youth will learn from each other in terms of job creation.

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