Rwanda has shown remarkable progress since the devastating genocide of 1994. The country is currently experiencing steady economic growth with an average of over 7% per year. Rwanda is ranked very highly as a place to do business and is working hard to attract international investment to promote economic growth. The Africa Competitiveness Report (2015) ranks Rwanda’s Global Competitive Index as 62 out of 144 countries. Rwanda benefits from having a clear vision for the future, so called the VISION 2020, launched in 2000, with a primary objective of transforming Rwanda into a middle-income country by the year 2020 and transitioning to a knowledge-based economy. The expected outcome of the vision is a united Rwanda that is competitive both regionally and globally.
The blueprint that guides the country’s development is the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS 2) which is currently in its second phase, being implemented from 2013/14 to 2017/18. The EDPRS2 pledges the creation of 200,000 off-farm jobs per year. In order to achieve this, a number of job creation initiatives have been carried out by government and development partners. Despite ambitious goals and the positive statistics surrounding doing business in Rwanda, many challenges remain. Rwanda generally suffers from a shortage of skilled labour while the majority of workers do not have decent jobs (as defined by the International Labour Organisation). There is a weak local capacity in country, as higher education and training ranks 117 out of 144.
With our focus on innovative entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education it is important to build partnerships that could have a genuine effect on the business enabling environment. As such we have in place strong partnership arrangements which include government agencies, private sector business support organizations, local NGOs and universities. Our partners in Rwanda are:
- Private Sector Federation (PSF) which replaced the former Rwanda Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 1999, represents the interests of the Rwandan business community. SPARK has been working with PSF since 2011 and is now working with them to strengthen BDS services specifically for business plan competition winners.
- The Entrepreneurship Hub was a partnership between the Kicukiro Business Development Centre (BDC) and the African Development Consultants (ADC), an SME development consulting firm which currently runs the centre on behalf of Rwanda Development Board.
- The University of Tourism Technology and Business Studies (UTB, 2008) is committed to spearhead the advancement of tourism education through quality teaching, learning, research, consultancy and service to the community. UTB became a SPARK partner in 2013 and has since started up the Entrepreneurship Centre (REC) to help equip students and alumni to gain quality practical business skills and support existing businesses among students and neighbouring communities.
- University of Rwanda, Nyagatare Campus, was established as an institution of higher learning in 2006. The University has been a SPARK partner since 2011 and has since run a number of business development services. Capacities of the staff have been developed; they are currently supporting and training new and existing entrepreneurs and setting up business clubs.
- Institut d’ Enseignement Supérieur (INES) is an institute of applied sciences, located in Musanze District, Northern Rwanda. One of the challenges which the university faces is their graduates finding employment. Therefore tends to focus more on entrepreneurship skills.
- Association des Etudients Reescapes du Genocide (AERG) is a student organization for genocide survivors with a over 40,000 members. They are providing employability and entrepreneurship training for secondary school, dropouts and university members. SPARK is supporting AERG to strengthen these capacities, providing training, coaching and mentoring and access to start-up capital.
- Rwanda Institute of Cooperatives, Entrepreneurship and Microfinance (RICEM) is a newly established institute, with the mission to provide capacity building in three main areas of business: Microfinance, Cooperatives and SMEs. RICEM, in collaboration with SPARK, initiated the project to build the capacity of agri BD service providers to create an effective Cooperative’s Support Networks (CSN).
- AgriProFocus is a network that promotes agriculture as a business. Since June 2015, AgriProFocus Rwanda, in partnership with SPARK, has been facilitating the establishment of a network of agribusiness service providers.
To learn more about the Cooperative Support Programme (CPS) in Rwanda, which builds the capacity of 100 agricultural cooperatives working in maize, beans, potatoes and horticulture, the Rwanda team devised this e-booklet. With informative videos, facts and figures, and stories of success, the e-booklet is your guide to agri-cooperatives in Rwanda.
Click here to read the e-booklet.