Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Rwanda has launched a new youth employment programme that will help school drop-outs get vocational skills and their project ideas funded with free capital.
Today the bank signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Youth Council (NYC), to officially kick start the youth programme dubbed ‘KCB Igire’ in which Rwf40million will be used this year targeting 100 youths.
At least 25 youths (aged between 18-25years) will be selected to train in income generating projects and the best five innovations will receive between Rwf3 million and Rwf5 million as seed capital each.
“Applications will be open in two weeks’ time and 25 youths from each Province will be selected in the process, and by October this year we will be able to fund the best business ideas” said Albert Manzi, the KCB marketing manager.
The project will be implemented in collaboration with NYC and applying students will be selected from their respective regions and trained from nearby Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) for six months.
Each of the regions will have specific focus areas of vocational skills training. For example Kigali youths will focus on ICT innovations, while the South and Northern Provinces will concentrate on skills such as electricity, culinary arts, and carpentry.
Robert Mwesigwa, the NYC Executive Secretary said that students shall be monitored from each stage of training, financial literacy and implementation of the projects.
“The problem of financial literacy has been the major cause of failure of youth innovation, and this is something we will work closely with the bank’s expertise to ensure this project succeeds,” Mwesigwa said on Friday while announcing the program.
Mwesigwa also said the local leaders will be able to identify the students and there will be no conditions for one to qualify but their innovations.
Managing Director For KCB Bank Rwanda, George Odhiambo, said that in this particular project, the bank is not looking at profits but addressing the problem of youth unemployment and jobs creation as part of its corporate responsibility.
“This is not a one-off funding. We recognize the need of creating employment and the beneficiaries will create more jobs. We will provide technical assistance and more funds in future to have this programme succeed,” Odhiambo said.
This funding programme could be a response to youth with very innovative ideas who fail to get bank loans as a result of the tiresome bank requirements such as collateral and high interest rates.
Rwanda’s journey to achieve sustainable development that will reduce country’s demographic dividend which currently has only 27 percent youth in the workforce of the estimated 12 million.
Currently Rwanda’s unemployment rate stands at 13.2% and government has targeted to create 200,000 jobs every year and 1.5 million off-farm jobs in its seven-year program.
Government plans to increase the rate of students enrolled in Technical and Vocational Education Training centers (TVET) by 13.6% increasing to 60% of all students who have completed ordinary level from 46.4% in the next seven years.