Promoting the economy and employment in Rwanda

Project description

Title: Promoting the economy and employment in Rwanda
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Rwanda
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Trade and Industry, MINICOM
Overall term: 2020 to 2022



Despite strong economic growth in recent years, unemployment and underemployment continue to be some of the biggest challenges facing Rwanda. The majority of the population works in the agriculture sector, where incomes are low. Moreover, the number of young people entering the labour market is increasing.

A large proportion of local companies are unregistered micro-enterprises which are not very competitive and cannot harness the long-term potential for growth. Moreover, most of them are only creating a handful of jobs at present. At the same time, the professional skills of many job seekers do not match the requirements of the labour market.

Promoting employment and transitioning to a knowledge and service based economy are high on Rwanda’s development agenda Vision 2050. Rwanda wants to improve professional skills, promote the private sector and shape the labour market in line with requirements.


Cooperatives and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in selected value chains are growing and creating new jobs.



The project follows an integrated approach to promoting employment: In the selected value chains of wood, tourism and film, it promotes sustainable growth of MSMEs and cooperatives and thus increases the demand for labour. It also strengthens needs-oriented vocational education and training, increasing the supply of qualified labour. Finally, it improves labour market services in order to match the demand for workers with supply. An additional focus is on the economic empowerment and economic participation of women and people with disabilities. The project also develops needs-oriented digital solutions in the value chains and in vocational education and training.

In order to boost the competitive strength of MSMEs, cooperatives and self-employed people in the wood industry, companies are advised in various areas from operational management to efficient production. Business links between actors working in the various stages of value creation are strengthened as well.

In the tourism industry, the project advises the Chamber of Tourism and Rwandan tour operators on developing and marketing new services centred on the Lake Kivu region. These include outdoor activities such as hiking and cycle tourism in particular.

In order to increase growth and employment in the Rwandan film industry, the Rwanda Film Office receives support. This includes setting up a database for professionals, a system for customer relationship management and advising on establishing and managing a film fund.

In order to increase the supply of specialist and management personnel for MSMEs and cooperatives, the project is promoting needs-oriented vocational education and training. It also supports job centres in placing educated and trained personnel and advises on improving labour market services.


In order to counter the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy and labour market, in 2020 the project worked on maintaining or restoring jobs.

  • The project has advised the Private Sector Federation – Rwanda on offering new services for the member businesses. This allowed entrepreneurs to more easily access temporary financial assistance, renegotiate loans and access advisory services for specific tax-related questions.
  • The digitalisation of teaching material at TVET colleges was promoted in order to enable learning despite the teaching institutions being closed.
  • Even though only limited face-to-face training was possible in 2020, a total of 265 workers, of which 47 were women, were trained: for example, 141 informal workers in the e-waste management sector received training in order to increase formal employment in the e-waste sector, especially for young people, women and people with disabilities.
  • Six centres for artisanal production were advised on managing a business and supported in developing and implementing strategies and business plans. This allowed them to improve customer focus, production and sales.
  • New tourism services such as the international cycling event 'Ride Rwanda' were created. In addition, the Nyanza Cultural Trails received certification with the support of the German Hiking Institute. There are also 15 new or improved community-based tourism products along Lake Kivu.
  • The Rwanda Film Office was advised on establishing and managing the film fund, including developing the funding criteria. 23 filmmakers received training in the field of filmmaking.

Last update: March 2021

Additional information