The former president of Mauritius Ameenah Gurib-Fakim has said that Rwanda’s critics will not deter other Africans from copying Rwanda’s leadership which has become a phoenix of development especially in promoting women empowerment.
Gurib-Fakim is founder of AGF-foundation, aimed to inspire, empower and connect young people to change their future.
“People can say whatever they want but Kagame’s leadership has been key in turning around this country, which is what we need as Africans to implement policies that will empower communities, especially women,” said Gurib-Fakim.
Already, Gurib-Fakim is planning to implement a science and technology project in Rwanda.
“We have submitted projects to donors and one of the components will be based in Rwanda in the area of promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) education.”
Gurib-Fakim is in Kigali for the third African business and social responsibility forum which opened in Kigali this February 27-28, 2019; with over 70 corporate companies and start up from over 10 countries across Africa.
Since its launch in 2017, the third business Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) edition comes to Kigali after its first and second editions in Mauritius.
The forum aims at engaging African corporate and start-ups in focusing on increasing job creation for African youths.
By 2034, Africa will be home to the world’s largest number of working-age adults. The World Bank estimates that this demographic dividend could generate 11-15% GDP growth over the next twenty years.
The 2015World Bank report projects that Africa’s working age population should grow by 450 million people but that the continent’s economies, without significant policy reform, will likely produce only 100 million new jobs
Currently more than 400 million youths on the African continent still search for jobs, thus the need to have corporate companies work with government to bridge the gap, according to Stephane Mouduote-Bell, the founder of the CSR forum.
“The commitment we have seen here is that companies have to be involved in the education systems to link the bridge and increase discussion between the academic systems and companies because they need skilled personnel,” said Mouduote-Bell.
In the meantime some local companies like KLab- a tech innovation hub in Kigali, have already started reaching out to thousands of students as part of contributing to education for future skills.
During the forum, several African startups raised concerns over lack of capital and investment which has impeded their desire to create more jobs and involvement in CSR driven community development.
In response to this, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), director of operations, Dr. Tijani Najeh, said that the bank, which is funding 60 operations in Africa, is open to fund all SMES projects on the continent.
“SMEs can resort to Badea for funding all the time. We are ready to fund but it’s nice to have production that considers access to market where its resilience is measured on local citizens being able to buy their products,” Najeh said.
Venture capital funding of African tech startups increased by a factor of 10 in just two years, from $41 million in 2012 to $414 million in 2014, and is projected to reach $600 million or more by 2019.