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Rwandan food workers slicing pineapples
Impact

Facilitating Inclusive Job Growth in Rwanda’s Agriculture Sector

The Feed the Future Rwanda Hanga Akazi activity is helping Rwanda build a more skilled workforce and equitable job market to meet the needs of the country’s modernizing economy

Objective

Support the growth of Rwanda’s knowledge-based economy by increasing inclusive employment and entrepreneurship opportunities across the food system.

Approach

Work with job seekers, would-be entrepreneurs, and businesses in Rwanda to facilitate their access to education, training, finance, and other resources needed for growth, while strengthening the enabling environment for inclusive business growth.

Impact

23,000 Rwandans gain new or improved employment and partner companies create 19,000 full-time jobs by 2027. These individuals will contribute the knowledge and skills needed to advance Rwanda’s food system.

Rwanda is a growing country with aspirations of becoming a knowledge-based economy that provides services regionally and internationally. To get there, the country needs to ensure its workforce can meet the needs of its modernizing economy.

As agriculture is the backbone of the Rwandan economy, a focus on evolving on- and off-farm jobs is a key part of Rwanda's strategy to become a middle-income country. At the same time, underemployment and unemployment are disproportionately high among women, youth, and persons with disabilities, which holds the economy back.

To help Rwanda achieve its development goals, the USAID-funded Feed the Future Rwanda Hanga Akazi (“Create Jobs”) activity is:

  • Building the technical and soft skills of the Rwandan workforce, including digital skills.
  • Facilitating business growth and connecting growing companies with skilled labor.
  • Providing entrepreneurs with tools and resources to start and grow businesses.
  • Breaking down barriers that exclude women, youth, and persons with disabilities.

Hanga Akazi aims to reach 23,000 Rwandans and help them gain new or better employment and facilitate the creation of 19,000 jobs by the private sector. The activity builds on private sector development work done under RTI-led programs in Rwanda, such as the previous USAID Private Sector Driven Agricultural Growth activity and current Feed the Future Rwanda Kungahara Wagura Amasoko activity, and is also coordinating and collaborating with complementary programs and partners in the country to add value and fill gaps.

Leveraging a market-led approach to job growth in Rwanda

Rather than providing direct services in agriculture, Hanga Akazi applies a market systems development approach that facilitates activities and solutions, including in complementary sectors like finance. For example, the activity is assessing where existing private sector actors have a need for employees and where the market has opportunities for entrepreneurship. Interventions focus on building the skills and knowledge of the labor force in line with those needs and opportunities. In other words, instead of starting with prescriptive value chains and geographies, Hanga Akazi is prioritizing areas for intervention based on market forces.

Outreach and support will involve entrepreneurs of all types, from the self-employed to groups of people joining together, to proactively fill market needs. Collaboration with the Rwandan government is also helping to build an enabling environment for greater private sector and entrepreneurial growth.

The activity is also helping job seekers and potential entrepreneurs access training and other educational opportunities tailored to the skills demanded by the private sector, including digital skills, financial literacy, and soft skills. Greater awareness of and access to information on the job market and labor trends – including professional opportunities and the skills needed to obtain them – are helping more Rwandans connect with quality jobs as well.   

Advancing local solutions to support the Rwandan economy

Hanga Akazi prioritizes working through local networks and with local actors, including bringing them into the activity’s design. Rather than creating standalone solutions to market failures, the activity is encouraging and promoting market actors to fill these needs with demand-driven solutions and convening relevant actors – from agribusinesses to finance providers, policymakers, and more – to facilitate local identification of barriers to growth and local solutions to overcome them. For example, Hanga Akazi’s Catalytic Growth Facility provides resources to private sector firms and entrepreneurs to pilot and scale solutions, such as testing innovative business models and financial products and supporting internships and apprenticeships.

Local NGO Akazi Kanoze Access is taking a leading role in implementing components of the activity and, in close collaboration with RTI, aims to work directly with USAID/Rwanda in the future.

Increasing inclusion for equitable business growth

To promote more equitable business growth, Hanga Akazi is building the business case for greater inclusion, especially of women, youth, and persons with disabilities, and raising awareness of inclusion efforts. Interventions will focus on strengthening anti-discrimination laws as well as implementation of and compliance with those policies in the private sector, including increasing the incentives for inclusion and improving talent management among businesses in the agriculture sector.

Among the activity’s goals for employment and job creation, 51% are targeted for women, 26% for youth, and 4% for persons with disabilities to better reflect the composition of the working-age population in Rwanda.

Learn more about our work in food security, agriculture, and nutrition  and in Rwanda.