Lydie Hakizimana, Private Sector Foundation’s Youth Chamber President told CNBC Africa that the east African country, Rwanda, needed to capitalise on this demographic dividend.
“The biggest asset the country has is its youths; about 70 per cent of the country’s young people are between the ages of 14 and 35 years,” said Hakizimana.
“They are making a contribution in the economic growth story of the country through investments in agriculture, ICT and public service.”
Hakizimana lamented the skills deficit calling on the government to escalate current efforts.
“Most of the youths today lack skills which is a huge challenge, but we should recognise initiatives being spearheaded by the government of helping to skill the unskilled,” she said.
Rwanda, through the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) project, seeks to skill youths in critical and scarce skills gap in the following high priority sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, natural resources, health and education.
Hakizimana said access to funding has also been one of the problems that has been bothering young entrepreneurs.
“The challenge that youths are now facing is coming up with innovative ideas that are bankable. We currently have multiple sources of funding,” she added.
There has been stigma in the past regarding certain sectors but this is changing largely due to the intervention of technology.
“More and more youths are looking in sectors previously unattractive, they are looking for ways to bring solutions through interventions of the ICTs,” added Hakizimana.