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The New Times – Rwanda
To say that Rwanda was the trauma capital of the world would not be stretching it. With what the country went through, that was to be expected, but the worrying thing is that children, who were not yet born in 1994, are inheriting it from adults.
Trauma, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is what mental health experts are wrestling with every day and they seem to be fighting a losing battle. A 2018 survey showed that one in ten people suffer from Severe Depressive Episodes, but among Genocide survivors, the numbers are enough to sound alarm bells; 35 per cent.
The figure could be even higher because only about 60 per cent of the population knows where to find mental health support and only 38.3 per cent among them made use of those services.
We are dealing with many demons and exorcising them should be our priority. The Government could begin by decentralising neuro-psychiatric services down to the village level with community health workers equipped with the necessary skills to handle cases early before they degenerate into complications.
Public lectures, especially after the monthly community work, Umuganda, could also be used to sensitise the population on that mental health issue. It is only through concerted efforts that the issue can be managed.
Over the years we have been confronted by difficult and hectic situations that could have brought down even stronger nations than ours, but the people of Rwanda persevered. It is that never-say-die attitude that should be used to deal with trauma and its side effects.
The New Times – Rwanda
By: Jane Mwangi
Earlier in our continent’s history, children were encouraged to work hard in school in order to pass their examinations and get a job. Higher education, and especially a degree, was the way for a young person to get into gainful employment and get on their way to fulfilling their dreams.
That is no longer the case today. Many people end up taking jobs outside their areas of study and for many, unfortunately, they end up jobless as there are not enough opportunities for employment in the formal sector. In these unfortunate circumstances, unemployment and under-employment have become common in our society today.
In Rwanda, the youth today make about 28.1 percent of the total population, estimated to be 12 million. The economy of the country is bolstered by the existing opportunities in financial services, agriculture, commerce, hospitality and information technology. Vibrant and educated young men and women are capitalising the ease of starting a business in these sectors.
Rwanda’s high ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business is proof of its readiness to make things work for entrepreneurs.
Economists have argued that the current unemployment crisis is as a result of an education system intent on labour supply instead of incubating entrepreneurship and skilling. Entrepreneurship-centered learning produces a cascading effect as with more business ventures created, more students get a higher chance of accessing employment. Evidently, small and medium small and micro businesses compromise 98 percent of total business in the country and account for 41 percent of private sector employment.
Skills development builds a sustainable circle in which the quality and relevance of education and training fuels innovation, enterprise development, economic competitiveness and more importantly, productive jobs.
A commendable number of countries in the continent are already making headway in formulating policies and implementation of programmes centered on the youth. The World Economic Forum 2018 Report concluded that skilling the youth must be a long-term investment for growing economies in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Skilling needs to be undertaken with the labour gaps in different industries and sectors in mind and by identifying the existing labor gaps in different industries and sectors, we are able to target training to meet these market needs.
There are currently a number of under-served industries, particularly in the informal sector: Beauty and Personal Care, Automotive Maintenance and Repair, Domestic Services, Agribusiness and Building and Construction.
In 2018, Rwanda led the region in elevating Technical Vocational Education & Training (TVET) as a key government priority streamlined in the county’s seven-year National Strategy for Transformation (2017-2024).
The World Economic Forum recommends in its report for 2018 that in order for Rwanda to harness the demographic it currently enjoys; youth involvement is imperative. Further to this, the country equally opened its doors to public-private partnerships to foster a culture of cooperation and collaboration with private organisation and government entities in national building.
Pursuant to this, KCB Foundation, through KCB Bank Rwanda, in partnership with the National Youth Council of Rwanda, extended its youth empowerment flagship programme 2jiajiri, into the country, marking another transformation journey for Rwanda. The programme dubbed KCB Igire launched last year, is geared to liberate the youth from the expectation of selling their labor to the freedom of self-employment. There is a major skills gap among the youth and Igire targets to build a cadre of skilled youth who can access the much needed business capital and financial services required to complete the transformation from job seekers to job creators for the rising Rwanda economy.
In 2018, KCB Foundation sponsored 100 youth to study Information and Communication Technology, culinary art and domestic electrical engineering skills in integrated polytechnic regional centres (IPRCs) in Kigali, Ngoma and Huye respectively. The training was supplemented with mentorship and networking opportunities to prepare beneficiaries for business projects and entrepreneurship. Graduands with the best proposals were given seed capital to start their own business projects. Another 200 youth have been listed for support this year.
It has only been three years since 2jiajiri was launched in its parent home Kenya, but the impact is immense and deliberate. About 23,000 youth beneficiaries have been upskilled and received entrepreneurial skills and financial literacy support. Success being realised is a collective effort between the private sector, National Government and Vocational training centers who share in this similar vision; a commitment that must be replicated by other stakeholders for the prosperity of the wider region.
With commitment like this, it will be possible to replicate this success in the wider region and we can prepare the youth for the future and make an investment that we can be sure will pay off in the long term for everybody.
The Herald – Zimbabwe
By: Beaven Dhliwayo
Zimbabwe has made huge strides in carrying out social, political and economic reforms, something that has received endorsements from both its allies and foes.
Its allies and foes are all upbeat that the Government’s reform agenda is moving the country on the right track.
Early this week, Britain, which has had fractious diplomatic relations with Zimbabwe for more than a decade now, hailed the country for its resolve in undertaking major reforms to spur economic growth and benefit its citizen.
Ever since President Mnangagwa assumed office, he has spearheaded major reforms aimed at enhancing the country’s electoral processes, upholding human rights, liberalising the media and respecting other freedoms enshrined in the Constitution.
When British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Melanie Robinson met Zanu-PF secretary for administration Cde Obert Mpofu recently, she reiterated her country’s commitment to see Zimbabwe succeed in the implementation of reforms.
She said Britain was keen to see Zimbabwe becoming a more prosperous, peaceful and democratic nation.
All this demonstrates that the Government is walking the talk and fulfilling its aspiration to attain the 2030 vision of becoming a middle-income economy.
The country’s reforms are anchored on good governance and the rule of law, the re-orientation of the country towards democracy, upholding freedoms of expression and association, peace and national unity, respect for human and property rights, and political and economic re-engagement with the global community among other values and objectives.
Zimbabwe’s reforms have not only received endorsement from Britain alone, but China, Russia, African Union, the European Union, World Bank and the SADC region as a whole.
The EU and the World Bank have also hailed Zimbabwe’s progress towards the attainment of political and economic reforms.
EU head of delegation Ambassador Timo Olkkonen after meeting with President Mnangagwa, hailed the Staff Monitored Programme (SMP), alignment of the Constitution and commitment to replace the Public Order and Security Act among other positive steps that the country had made so far.
“Now, we have recently seen positive steps. The Staff Monitored Programme by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) is certainly one of those. We have seen movement on the constitutional alignment agenda, the media Bills, the replacement of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA),” he said.
The SMP is an initiative by the Government that seeks to enhance efficiency and service delivery in the country.
Even the civil society is also up-beat about the country’s reforms.
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe has also commended the strides made by the Second Republic in carrying out media reforms.
Speaking at an event to mark the 2019 World Press Freedom Day, MISA Zimbabwe chairperson Golden Maunganidze hailed the Government for its commitment towards media reforms.
“MISA Zimbabwe welcomes steps taken by the Government so far through the three draft Bills as part of its commitment and pledges to implement the long-overdue media law and policy reforms,” he was quoted saying.
Cabinet has since approved the formulation of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill to replace the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and is busy working on other Bills that will replace the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
NCA leader Prof Lovemore Madhuku says President Mnangagwa is on the right path as he steers the country’s Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP).
The TSP advocates for a broad-based citizenry participation in national and socio-economic development programmes.
He says Zimbabwe must move away from a perpetual election mode and called for Western countries to lift sanctions against the country.
The United States, which has repeatedly imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe for years now, has also come out commending President Mnangagwa’s trajectory of implementing democratic reforms as well as improving the ease of doing business in the country.
“Our legal framework calls upon Zimbabwe to carry out reforms to address these problems. We are happy that Government is focusing on and addressing these problems,” US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Brian Nichols was quoted saying.
“I hope that the repeal of POSA, which has already been gazetted, will move forward and will generate additional path for the momentum in our relationship.”
The Trump administration extended sanctions on Zimbabwe for another year, in a move that was largely denounced by Zimbabwe’s regional and international allies.
The EU too further renewed sanctions on the country to February 2020.
Despite the hostile stance of Britain, the US and their European allies, Zimbabwe has received strong support from China, Russia, AU, South Africa and the SADC region.
When South African President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the country in March this year for Zimbabwe-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC), he pledged to support Zimbabwe’s economic growth and reform efforts.
He called on the West to remove all sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe immediately to allow unhindered recovery.
“We commend your new administration for all your efforts through your programme of action to take Zimbabwe out of its current difficulties and make it a viable partner to South Africa, to the region and other development partners,” President Ramaphosa said.
“In support of your commendable efforts, in February this year at the World Economic Forum, South Africa made a clarion call to the international community to assist Zimbabwe and support the reform efforts that your Government has embarked on by lifting the unfair and unjustified sanctions that have been imposed on Zimbabwe.
“We even addressed the European Union and made this call. We are pleased that the EU heeded the call and in February 2019 decided to lift sanctions on the current members of your administration, but we want more than just that!”
President Ramaphosa said sanctions had serious implications on the country’s population and development.
“We are very clear as South Africa that the sanctions are unjust, unfair and the time has come for them to be lifted immediately because they impede the growth of the Zimbabwean economy and they also have an adverse effect on the ordinary people of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“We want these sanctions lifted yesterday. We want to see meaningful support being given by the international development partners to Zimbabwe because Zimbabwe does deserve the support that the world can give. This is the first of the many steps needed to support Zimbabwe’s recovery.”
Last month, when Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni officially opened the 60th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), he said the imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe by the West was an act of cowardice and those behind the economic restrictions should lift them.
He unequivocally called for the removal of the illegal sanctions, which have been blamed for frustrating economic recovery efforts.
“On behalf of Uganda, I want to condemn the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe for such a long time,” he said.
“This idea of sanctions is cowardice.”
Britain and its allies-imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe after the country made a bold decision to take back its land from the white minority commercial farmers and redistribute it to the landless majority.
Sanctions remain a millstone around of Zimbabwe as it attempts to forge ahead with major social, economic and political reforms.
And, reforms being undertaken by Zimbabwe will only become meaningful and solid, if sanctions are lifted.