EU, Rwanda sign €10 million grant agreement to support private sector development and job creation

Kigali: Today, the Government of Rwanda and the European Union signed a financing agreement for € 10 million (about Frw 10.8 million) to support private sector development and job creation in Rwanda. This grant is part of the EU’s 460 million package of support to Rwanda for the period going until end of 2020.

The programme will address Rwanda’s needs to create employment opportunities for its youth. Activities will focus on two sub-sectors, namely the digital economy and tourism hospitality, which have the potential for rapid, sustainable private sector growth and job creation.

The programme will strive to ensure equal access for all to the new opportunities in these sectors.

The programme will be implemented through two projects: Market Skills4Tourism, implemented by Rwanda Polytechnic in collaboration with the Tourism Chamber from the Private Sector Federation (PSF), the Skills Office from Rwanda Development Board and Workforce Development Authority, and the Tech Innovation/Incubation Hubs project, implemented by Rwanda Information Society Authority (RISA) in collaboration with the ICT chamber from the Private sector federation (PSF).

The Market Skills4Tourism (MS4T) will improve skills for the youth in the Tourism and Hospitality sector in Rwanda. MS4T will (i) improve institutional and managerial capacity of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools and reinforce linkages between TVET schools and Private sector, (ii) improve quality and relevance of the training offer, (iii) increase access to business and professional advisory services to TVET graduates in the Tourism and Hospitality Sector in Rwanda.

The project will focus on forging a dynamic connection between TVET schools and the industry, improving TVET curricula and teaching practices.

The Tech Innovation/Incubation Hubs project will increase digital-based employment opportunities in high potential sectors through innovation/incubation hubs in four secondary cities in Rwanda, namely Rusizi, Rubavu, Nyagatare and Muhanga. The programme will focus on: (i) setting up and equipping innovation/incubation hubs, (ii) incubation for innovative ideas (from ideation stage to expansion stage) through coaching in business development, marketing, legal and financial training; (iii) increasing of access to finance mechanisms for most promising incubated projects.

The project will contribute to support growth of innovative start-ups, which will set off spill over effects across different value chains of the digital ecosystem in Rwanda, hence contributing to their sustainable development and creation of long-term employment.

The effects of COVID-19 pandemic heavily affected the private sector operations which in turn led to job losses and affected livelihoods. The EU support will contribute to easing this burden through provision of market relevant skills as well enhancing technological innovations” said Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.

This is particularly more relevant to the current situation where the tourism and hospitality sector has been the most impacted by COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the current crisis has demonstrated that without a strong digital sector, it is difficult to adapt to the new world normal; that is why this programme is so timely to fill the gaps within the digital ecosystem in Rwanda”, said Ambassador Nicola Bellomo, Head of the EU Delegation to Rwanda.

The two projects are expected to make an important contribution to the Government’s target of creating 1,500,000 decent jobs by 2024 set in the NST1. (End)

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