Rwanda government has announced an ambitious target of creating 1.5 million off-farm jobs in its seven-year program, Prime Minister Dr. Edourd Ngirente said on Tuesday.
Currently Rwanda’s unemployment rate stands at 13.2% . Government had previously vowed to create 200,000 jobs every year.
Going by the current trend, it means seven years will see an additional 100,000 jobs created if the program strictly starts this year.
Outlining government program in the next seven years, the Prime Minister who was appointed by President Kagame nearly a month ago, said to achieve the target, government will establish key skills development and job creation centres across the country.
Some of the planned projects that would create more jobs include among others; creating a model profit making venture to stimulate innovation at grassroots level in all villages of the country.
In a momentum to create jobs, the Prime Minister said, “Kigali Special Economic Zone will be expanded to a capacity of accommodating 350 private companies.”
Rwanda has embarked on expanding a multi-million dollar Special Economic Zone in Gasabo district which will operate as an industrial park and make the land-locked country an industrial hub in the region.
To cut the biting trade imbalance the country is facing, the Prime Minister said the new seven years program will push production of made-in-Rwanda products promoted and to help the country save up to $400 million spent on import receipts.
By creating more skills among young Rwandans in response to job creation, Prime Minister Ngirente told the parliament that his government will increase the rate of students enrolled in Technical and Vocational Education Training Centres (TVETs) by 13.6%.
“The rate of students attending TVTs will increase to 60% of all students who have completed O Level from 46.4%,” he said.
In the agriculture sector, which employs more than 85% of the country’s 12 million population, the Prime Minister announced, government will increase the number of hectares irrigated to boost production.
“In 2024, hectares of irrigated land will be increased to 102,284ha from the current 48,508ha,” Prime Minister said.
Sixteen years ago, Rwanda started a long-term project to utilize its 1.5 million hectares of arable land. Out of 1.5 million hectares, 63% of it (600,000 ha) need urgent irrigation mechanization plans in order to start producing.