In Rwanda, Money Winds Now Blowing To The Rural
The rural Rwanda is increasingly attracting private investments and defying the popular norm that opportunities were only in the capital city Kigali.
According to an Integrated Households Living Condition Survey (EICV4 2013/2014) report released Monday, entrepreneurship is flowing more into rural areas than urban areas.
Within the last three years, the survey report shows the percentage of private establishments increased by 38.1% in rural areas compared to 7.3% in urban areas.
Since 2013, Rwanda has been creating 146,000 jobs annually but, 47.9%Â of these are created in rural areas compared toÂ 22.4% in urban areas.
President Paul Kagame launched the survey report. He said that, â€œIt is an indication that Rwandans can forge their future for themselves and their families no matter where they choose to live and work.â€
Rwandaâ€™s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Claver Gatete attributes the attractiveness of rural areas to the increase in off farm jobs; â€œOur rural areas are creating more non-farm jobs including food processing and small trade.â€
Abdallah Nzabandora, coordinator of National Employment Program at the Workforce Development Authority told KT Press that more youths are graduating at various technical and vocational institutions and directly taking skills to rural areas.
In skills development initiatives, the 30 districts in the country are building workshops (Udukiriro) with the aim of creating 2000 jobs annually.
So far 10 districts have set up such workshops. Others are under construction in the remaining districts.
The government targets to train more youths in skills development for production of quality equipment to decrease importation of furniture and help the country meet the 200,000 jobs target every year by 2017.
President Kagame said acquisition of technical skills helps in reducing unemployment still high in urban areas, with 8.3% against an overall 2%.
The survey notes that unemployment is higher among university graduates with 13% while among secondary school graduates 9%.
Kagame commended the increase in mobile phone penetration at 58.6% in rural areas, and 87.9% in urban areas.
â€œTen years back, no poor family had a phone; today a third of them now do. The improvement is meaningful due to the commitment of public servants, taxpayers and development partners,â€ he said.
Rwanda managed to lift out of poverty one million people between 2005 and 2010. The survey showed that the country has maintained this pace with 650,000 people lifted out of poverty between 2011-2013.
Overall poverty rate in Rwanda declined to 39.1% in 2014, down from 44.9% in 2011. Extreme poverty is decreasing at good pace, according to Gatete. It declined to 16.3% in 2014, from 24.1% in 2011.
The decrease in poverty rate is translated in a constant increase of GDP per capita, which quadrupled from $ 211 in 2000 to $ 718 in 2014.