The European Union (EU) is set to provide Rwanda with an US$ 11.4 million grant to boost the East African country’s private sector and foster job creation.
This is a portion of the larger US$ 522.6 million package meant to be used to see the country through the remainder of the year.
The funds are a great boost for Rwanda which planned to create 1.5 million jobs by 2024.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in Rwanda released a statement that read, “The program will address Rwanda’s needs to create employment opportunities for its youth. Activities will focus on two sub-sectors, namely the digital economy and tourism hospitality, which have the potential for rapid, sustainable private sector growth and job creation.”
It continued to read, “The effects of COVID-19 pandemic heavily affected the private sector operations which in turn led to job losses and affected livelihoods. The EU support will contribute to easing this burden through provision of market relevant skills as well enhancing technological innovations.”
As of the time of this writing Rwanda is the sole country from the sub-Saharan Africa region whose citizens have approval to travel to countries in the European Union. Other countries with approval include; Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.
Rwanda’s economic growth has been slower this year courtesy of the corona virus pandemic. In the first quarter of 2020 it slowed to 3.6%, which is nearly half of where it stood in the first quarter at 2019, at 6.1%. The second quarter of 2019 saw growth rise to 8.4%.
This year is the slowest growth has been for the country since 2017, largely due to the effects of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Head of EU Delegetion to Rwanda, Nicola Bellemo, said the pandemic has said the pandemic has proved the difficulty of adapting to our new normal without a strong digital industry.
Bellemo added that the program has stepped in at the best time to counter the gaps within the Rwanda’s digital ecosystem.
Rwanda’s government aims to create 1.5 million jobs by 2024, and the EU’s grant will certainly go a long way towards this goal.