Youth as Critical Component of Inclusive and Sustainable Development in Rwanda

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Rwanda celebrates International Youth Day on August 22, with activities coordinated by the Ministry of Youth and ICT and the National Youth Council.

This year’s International Youth Day, which is ordinarily held on August 12, boasts the theme “civic engagement.” This means including more youth in implementing the new global development agenda.

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on the Youth notes that Rwanda has a comprehensive strategic and programmatic framework in this regard.

Some of these initiatives include the National Youth Policy, health programmes, the UN Development Assistance Plan for improving youth and women’s employment in the country. The country also has a variety of programmes to provide financial and other support to young entrepreneurs. One UN and both public and private organizations further support these projects. These programs attend to the approximately 125,000 young people who enter the labor force each year.

President Kagame’s statements demonstrate further commitment to young people in the country. “The youth are Rwanda’s future, its Agaciro [self-worth] in all ways, in terms of strength and leadership, and they are the value and foundation of what every country wants to achieve. This is what youth means. That is why I focus on the youth.”

Finally, the country offers numerous ways in which the country’s young people can shape their own future, by offering their voices to consultations on youth programmes. One UN Rwanda has one such project for including young people in creating the development agenda.

The UN Resident Coordinator in Rwanda, Lamin Manneh, sees great potential for the country’s youth. “Together, using young men and women’s talent, creativity, energy, and enthusiasm, we can change the challenges faced by youth today into huge opportunities for moving forward the inclusive development and transformation agenda tomorrow, which is what the SDGs are essentially about!”

Source: Lamin M. Manneh, The New Times, Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media