Rwanda is looking at creating 1.5 million new jobs by 2024, which roughly translates to 214,000 jobs annually for the next seven years.
To achieve this, the economy is expected to create at least 18,000 jobs per month.
“We will put in place a mechanism to support at least one employment-generating project in each village,” Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente, said in his address to parliament last week on Wednesday.
Job creation was one of the key issues in President Paul Kagame’s manifesto. But in 2010, the government had promised to create 200,000 jobs per year by 2018 — which was not achieved.
From 2011, the government has been creating about 146,000 jobs per year, according to the Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey released in 2015.
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Experts agree that whereas the new target is as ambitious as the old one, Rwanda has the potential and lots of unexploited sectors — such as agribusiness — which can be avenues for job creation.
“It is going to be tough to create 1.5 million jobs, but if it happened, it would propel the country’s economic growth and target to reach middle-income status,” Ismael Byaruhanga, an economic analyst and lecturer at the University of Rwanda, said in an interview.
“More incubation centres need to be developed for the youth and the internship programme currently provided by the government for university graduates needs to be revised to make sure it gives them the skills and experience required by the private sector,” he added.
Rwanda’s unemployment rate has been on the increase, but the figures provided by the National Institute of Statistics were found to be contentious.
For a long time, the rate of unemployment in the country was thought to be at only 2.5 per cent, but in May, the National Institute of Statistics admitted that the formula they used was wrong.
The institute adopted a new formula, which found the rate of unemployment to be at 13.5 per cent. They also reported that the combined rate of employment and underemployment was at 37 per cent in 2016.
A report by the government on pay comparisons in the private and public sectors showed that although gross salaries in both sectors are similar, the difference are in the amount of non-salary benefits offered to state employees.
It showed that benefits such as health insurance, paid leave, housing allowances and others are higher in the private sector.
The National Employment Programme says that 77 per cent of the working age population — estimated at about five million people — are farmers and informal sector workers who face low productivity, meagre earnings and unsafe working conditions.