Monday, 1 December 2014

Rwanda, Sweden sign Rwf9.3bn grant to tackle unemployment

The government signed a grant agreement of $13.5 million (about Rwf9.3 billion) to support implementation of the National Employment Programme which aims to create 200,000 jobs each year.

The Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Claver Gatete, signed on behalf of government, while Maria Håkansson, Chargé d’Affaires at the Swedish Embassy in Kigali, represented her government. The funds will be used through 2017, to support projects aimed at creating sufficient jobs, equipping the workforce with vital skills needed by the private sector, and strengthening national employment structures.

“The National Employment Programme is the government flagship programme for fulfilling the ambitions of the EDPRS II with regards to productive employment,’’ Gatete said.

“Creating jobs is important but it is not the end in itself. Employment needs to be sufficiently productive to provide a sustainable source of income. We recognise that the youth make up 67 per cent of the unemployed in Rwanda. Therefore, our target also focuses on youth entrepreneurship and skills development.”

Sweden is a new member of the Private Sector Development and Youth Employment Sector Working Group and has been the first to donate toward the National Employment Program (NEP).

“We see the funding of NEP as a way to support the government’s work on promoting productive jobs that provide people living in poverty, a sustainable way to self-reliance,” Håkansson said.

“The programme’s approach fits into Vision 2020, and also with the priorities that emerged from the analytic work carried out by the Swedish Embassy earlier this year which indicated that moving towards productive off-farm jobs is needed to reach the ambitious targets for poverty reduction.”

Also, people living in poverty across the country will need to be facilitated to grasp the job opportunities or become job creators themselves.

During this period, the programme will seek to promote entrepreneurship and SME growth.

Rwanda’s unemployment rate, according to the 2012 national census stands at 3.4 percent, up from 1.2 per cent in 2006.


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