Rwanda: CHOGM - Are Youth Preparing for Prospective Opportunities?

As different sectors prepare to leverage opportunities presented as Rwanda hosts over 5000 delegates from the 54 member countries of the Commonwealth, the youth seem to be fast at the frontline as well.

The Commonwealth Youth Forum scheduled to take place from June 19 to 21 at Intare Conference Arena, will gather more than 350 young people from across the Commonwealth member countries.

This will of course present an opportunity for young people to discuss and tap into innovative and economic opportunities for growth.

Solange Tetero, Director General of Youth Empowerment in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, said that apart from understanding the challenges that the Commonwealth is facing, participants will also be tipped on their contribution to sustainability of different sectors and economic imperative and up-skilling for the 21st century.

In light of addressing the issue of unemployment, she said: "They will benefit from different topics that will be discussed on where we will commit to deliberately create opportunities for young people. They will also have time for networking and creating contacts for future businesses."

"We also organised a start-up festival to celebrate innovations young people across the Commonwealth through a competition and those with creative ideas that respond to challenges the world is facing will be financially supported," she added.

The innovation projects will be pitched during the youth forum.

Young participants will also get to tour around Kigali City to learn about the business environment and get inspired, and also a cultural dinner is scheduled to expose the attendees to different cultures across the Commonwealth, especially Rwandan culture as a host country.

Tetero also pointed out that young Rwandans will also get to benefit from CHOGM through different platforms of work such as organising protocol services in different forums, businesses that will in one way or another provide services or products during the summit.

"They have to prepare and position themselves well to showcase the quality of their work and establish contacts that will benefit them even after the meeting is over."

Augustin Uwase, manager and founder of Eagle Arts Rwanda involved in graphic design and branding, says he has already started making profit ahead of CHOGM as the country makes strides in preparation.

"We are now confident as youth that we shall also have a portion of benefits before and during the meeting. It will leave us with lessons to go by."

He added that small-scale companies should not confine themselves to thinking that only big companies will benefit from the meeting, and even those who are unemployed should approach different companies and present their skills to secure jobs during CHOGM.

"A business may be able to permanently employ 10 people, but surely they will need more employees in this specific period to adequately deliver whatever they may be producing."

Emmanuel Tuyisenge, founder and manager of Temaco Builders Ltd, a local construction company, is upbeat about attending the Commonwealth business forum, and he says it is a good opportunity to learn and build partnerships for either boosting his company locally, or extending it to cross-border markets.

However, given the claimed high fee to attend the forum, he advises young business people to make good use of digital platforms and ask for side meetings with targets for business people who will be attending, for their professional interests.

Louise Kanyonga, Chief Strategy and Compliance Officer, recently said that they are considering affordable packages to facilitate young start-ups to showcase their works during the exhibition scheduled under the business forum.

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