There is need for sustained efforts to develop the tourism and hospitality sector for the country to achieve the target to create 200,000 off-farm jobs every year.
With this target, the Government expects to create 1.5 million jobs by 2024.
According to Belise Kariza, Chief Tourism Officer of the Rwanda Development Board, tourism and the hospitality sector currently create around about 142,000 jobs.
For the last 10 years, tourism has been Rwanda’s top foreign exchange earner.
The Government’s target is to double the numbers to $800 million by 2024.
She was providing insights during the World Tourism Day event last week.
“We are closely working with different partners such as Mastercard Foundation as well as the private sector to boost job creation through the development of the tourism and hospitality industry. The sector currently creates over 100,000 jobs in Rwanda,” she said.
The sector, she said, she said the sector contributes about 10 per cent of Rwanda’s GDP
“Establishment of hospitality infrastructure such as hotels and accommodations, conference facilities are creating more jobs opportunity. However, we have realized there is still a gap in supplying skilled labor force in the sector,” she said.
In the next five years, Kaliza said that in partnership with Mastercard Foundation, they will create equip 30,000 young men and women with the skills they need to transition into jobs in the tourism and hospitality sectors.
Young people will receive training in communications, customer service, ICT, and digital literacy skills under Hanga Ahazaza initiative.
With a budget of $50 million, the five-year initiative is focused on increasing employment opportunities for young people while expanding tourism and the hospitality sector in Rwanda.
It will also support entrepreneurs with small businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector through increased access to financial services and business development skills training so that they can create new employment opportunities for young people.
“The initiative will supply the demand for skilled employees in the tourism and hospitality sector. We want that infrastructure related to tourism increase and create more jobs,” she said.
Growth in Rwanda’s tourism and hospitality sector is expected to create an estimated 151,000 jobs by 2030.
Rica Rwigamba, Senior Program Manager and Acting Country Representative of the Mastercard Foundation said: “Together, we will strengthen the quality of skills training, support, and resources required to prepare young people for current and future work in this sector.”
She said that Young Africa Awards initiative will create job opportunities for 30 million African youth by 2030.
“We have signed a fresh agreement with RDB for continuous strong collaboration so that we create job opportunities for youth,” she said.
Since its launch in 2018, the Hanga Ahazaza initiative has reached more than 3,333 Rwandan youth through skills programs and work opportunities and supported 183 micro-small and medium-sized businesses.
It supports small businesses and entrepreneurs in the tourism and hospitality sector through increased access to financial services and training, and by connecting them to young people who have the skills needed to be successful employees.
James Gashumba, the Vice-Chancellor of Rwanda Polytechnics said that strategies are in place to ensure TVET schools deploy skilled labor force.
For instance, he said that the Hospitality Management Institute that nears completion in Remera sector, Kigali city will boost the hospitality sector.
“We want those students in TVET to learn by practice in hospitality businesses,” he said.
In 2010 there were 63 TVET schools with 50,000 and today they are 350 TVET schools which have increased access to skills development including the tourism and hospitality sector.
He said there were two Polytechnics which increased to 17 of which eight are public.
“Of these public polytechnics, five provide tourism and hospitality courses. We have to work with the private sector to increase access to TVET. At present, we have 31 percent of students who join TVET after completing the ordinary level,” he said.
The number of TVET trainers has increased from 900 to 5,000 TVET trainers.
Terry Kibui, Deputy Head of Academics, Vatel Rwanda that teaches hotels management said that hospitality and tourism courses should be widely be incorporated into TVET schools.
Rex Nijhof, Chief Executive Officer, and Kigali Marriot said: “We definitely need to work with education institutes in getting the training because there is a difference between learning in the job and in class.”
Elodie Rusera, the Chief Skills Officer at Rwanda Development Board said that the industrial attachment would expose students to practical skills.
“We have partnerships with Rwanda Polytechnic in terms of internships. We also partnership with hotels for industrial attachment,” she said.
Under the National Employment Programme, she said that RDB recently entered into a partnership with Rwanda Polytechnic where 5,700 potential candidates for the tourism sector were trained and 70 percent of them were employed after being connected to companies in tourism and hospitality.