Canadian Firm Commits $50M for Youth In Tourism, Hospitality Sectors

MasterCard­­­­ Foundation is committing $50 million to train youth in Rwanda for the tourism and hospitality sectors.

The initiative “Hanga Ahazaza”, or plan for tomorrow is a five year project that aims to create thousands of jobs and employment in the tourism and hospitality sectors for young people.

The tourism and hospitality industries are among the priority areas for the government’s employment creation and poverty reduction programmes. It is expected that growth in these sectors will make a significant contribution to moving the country to a middle income nation.

The sector will need to have had, or create over 150,000 jobs by 2030. In the next five years, The Mastercard foundation initiative aims to equip around 30,000 young people with the skills needed to find, or even create jobs in the tourism and hospitality sectors. That should mean 6,000 young people annually, entering the sector.

“This programme comes at the time tourism and hospitality sectors are growing, many high end hotels have been built, but skilled employees are hired from other countries. So it comes purposely to equip local youth to also compete in the market.” Said programme manager, Rica Rwigamba.

“This program only needs passion to join the sector. We have decided to invest this money because there are a lot of job opportunities to be had. Through working with several partners, trainees will also be helped to get jobs by learning how to write CVs and talking to employers in the tourism sector.” She added.

The training will take up to six months in Kigali, at the end of which the trainees will be awarded Internationally recognised certificates in tourism and hospitality.

Rwanda aims to create 1.5million off farm jobs in the next seven years. It is hoped that the Hanga Ahaza initiative will boost the numbers to this target.

Prospective trainees are expected to have a passion to work in the sector. Training will include communications, customer service, Information communication technology (ICT), to give them computer literacy skills.

The programme will also support entrepreneurs, small business owners in the sector, with for instance increased access to financial services, and business development skills.

The tourism and hospitality sector is expected to produced increased revenue of $88 million this year, up from $74 million last year, an increase of 8%.

Merci Nsengiyumva, a barista at Question Café said that “achieving skills in the hospitality industry isn’t difficult, it only needs passion to learn and seeing it as a career. Young people should forget seeing it as time wasted, because it is not.”

“I have been a barista for two years and I would encourage any young person who would like to join tourism, hotel management, you will not regret it.”

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