Home NewsNational New Digital Platform Seeks to Alleviate Unemployment Burden in Rwanda

New Digital Platform Seeks to Alleviate Unemployment Burden in Rwanda

by Daniel Sabiiti
10:44 pm

Academia and Industry offical at the INNODIP project validation meeting in Kigali on May 25, 2023

Universities and researchers have approved the establishment of a digital platform that will connect the industry and academic resources to address the levels of unemployment in the country.

The platform is part of the implementation phases of the innovative, research-based, and inclusive digital platform project (INNODIP) that was launched this February with aim to boost existing government efforts to create off-farm jobs including disabled persons.

The all-government and private-sector inclusive project is supported by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (UKAid) and Research and Innovation for Africa (RISA) and implemented by the University of Tourism, Technology, and Business Studies (UTB) with other universities in Rwanda.

At a project validation meeting held on May 25, 2023, research findings that were unveiled on the current employment needs assessment showed that there is lack of collaboration between the industry and academia, which has been noticed as one of the causes of unemployment.

For instance, the findings showed that research is not used in academia and industry and both academia and industry were not connected and their collaboration was relatively moderate (50%).

“The findings show that there is a big percentage of no collaboration, and yet a large percentage of correspondents (88.4%) said that a digital platform would connect them,” said Emmanuel Kassajja the Lead Researcher.

The research recommended that the digital platform to be established as a solution to the existing gaps but besides employment, also contains other segments – such as conducting research, review of curriculum, and internships which contribute to gaps in creating employment.

Rwanda targets to create 1.5 million off-farm jobs by 2024 to reduce youth unemployment, and at least 214,000 jobs were to be created annually since 2017, however, new statistics show that unemployment has reached 17.2 according to 2023 new stats from the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR)

Dr. Lillian Umutesi, the UTB Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic said that the platform will be locally developed by Rwandan tech experts without outsourcing and the platform prototype will be ready by September and fully functional by December 2023.

The INNODIP Project Coordinator, Prof. Prince Wasajja Kiwanuka, said that the platform will use a web-based technology and interface, and have a mobile application that will enable access and ease for data entry for all users including job applicants, industry recommendations on curriculum revision, and internships but also high-level data protection.

Vice-Chancellor of UTB, Prof. Dr. Simeon Wiehler said that the platform is highly needed and it will act as a game changer in ways graduates get jobs, how information is shared and enable universities to train persons with the right skills for the market needs.

“This will not only directly connect skilled graduate databases to the industrial labor market but also solve the problem of former graduates who have no direct connections to the job industry,” Wiehler said.

Wiehler stated the success of this platform in Rwanda will be a benchmark for other regional academia and industry sectors especially in Uganda and Kenya, who have already asked for the model to be extended to their countries.

Researchers at the validation meeting recommended that the scope of the research be extended to all sectors besides industry so as to fully address the underlying unemployment gaps such as lack of experience which are commonly seen in the mining, construction, and energy sectors.

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