African Union launches s 

Sunday, December 01, 2013 

Rwanda to create 3.2 million jobs

KIGALI, RWANDA - -A one day conference on Growing Small and Medium Entrepreneurs [SMEs] which was aimed at boosting such businesses and therefore pulled many business people across Rwanda and the neighboring countries was last week concluded.This conference which was organised in form of a marketplace where innovative business ideas were displayed to potential investors was officially opened by the Minister of Trade and Industry Francois Kanimba, who addressed people present saying that it was an honor for Rwanda to hold such a conference for the second time in history.

Kanimba said that if Rwanda is to meet the set target of creating middle class entrepreneurs by the year 2020, she needed such innovative ideas.
“SMEs are very crucial to meeting such a target and here we need to strengthen them so that people in the country can be able to create own job hence be able to get out of poverty”, said the minister.
He continued explaining saying that Rwanda has a target of creating 3.2million jobs “off farm” by the year 2020 and therefore this is why the Rwandan government started a programme of “Hanga Umurimo” [Create own jobs] through which individuals can be able to start own jobs with an aim of getting out of poverty.
From the organizing side, the Rwanda Development Board Chief Executive Officer Valentine Rugwabiza said that such a conference provided a unique opportunity for Rwanda to reflect on a sector [SMEs], which actually plays a big role in its development.

“We believe that SMEs in the conference will be able to create employment for Rwandans, become significant exporters, promote economic growth and also alleviate poverty”, said the C.E.O
Rugwabiza said that SMEs in Rwanda constituted almost 98% of the Rwandan businesses and therefore this makes them great contributors to the national production.
This conference brought in SMEs people from Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, and Liberia among others, who were all about 400 participants.
“We get people who want to do business or who are already in business but have no where to start from and here we educated them on what to do, give them a four days training at a small fee and later get them to communities to go to for market of given out products from which they can be able to get funds to start up own business”, said Anne Kayiwa Country Manager Barefoot Power Uganda.
She added on saying that they still help micro finance institutions find funding which helps them stay in business.
“With such an initiative entrepreneurs are linked to financing institutions from which they can be able to get loans”, said Eusebe Muhikira Acting Head, Trade and Manufacturing Department, RDB.

By Agnes Bateta, Sunday, December 01st, 2013