Press Release: UNDP and the Tony Elumelu Foundation Partner for Youth Entrepreneurship in Rwanda
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Rwanda and the Tony Elumelu Foundation have signed a historic 4-year agreement worth $1.4m USD and lasting from 2022-2026 to empower the youth of Rwanda to benefit from more inclusive, competitive and sustainable economic growth in the country.
This new partnership will position entrepreneurship as a driver of business growth and job creation, empowering young people through an intensive programme involving entrepreneurship capacity building, financial start-up support, and one-on-one business mentorship. Set to be undertaken by UNDP alongside the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the Ministry of Youth and Culture, the programme will:
- Provide training to 400 young Rwandan entrepreneurs with an innovative business idea.
- Provide seed funding to 100 young Rwandan entrepreneurs to start and scale their businesses.
- Provide one-on-one business mentorship delivered by the nation’s leading entrepreneurs.
- Ensure that 50 percent of programme beneficiaries are women.
The youth of Rwanda (aged 16-30 years) make up around one third of the country’s population. While youth remain key to the country’s transformational growth, the youth of Rwanda still face several challenges including high levels of poverty (29.5 percent of young people live in households below the poverty line), high levels of unemployment and underemployment (15.7 percent unemployment rate among young people), as well as low levels of entrepreneurship and skills shortages.
Youth unemployment remains a persistent development challenge, with UNDP and partners positioning job creation fuelled by entrepreneurship – particularly youth-led small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – as a priority development solution.
Mr. Maxwell Gomera, UNDP Resident Representative in Rwanda outlined the importance of young people in shaping Rwanda’s development journey. “This partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation will directly benefit the young men and women of Rwanda through the creation of more than 1,600 new businesses,” he said. “I have no doubt that these businesses, led by a new generation of entrepreneurs, will also contribute greatly to jobs creation and livelihoods opportunities for more youth. UNDP is committed to positioning young people at the heart of Rwanda’s development journey and alongside our valued partners we will continue to empower young men and women to reach their fullest potential.”
“We are excited to scale our impact of poverty alleviation, job creation and women empowerment in Africa through this inaugural partnership with UNDP Rwanda, and the Rwandan Ministry of Youth and Culture. The Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneurship programme was developed on the principle that the economic empowerment of African youth is pivotal to economic growth and sustainable development across the African continent, and we believe that this partnership will move us closer to our shared vision to support African youth through entrepreneurship by creating sustainable opportunities for transformative development across the continent.” – Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, CEO TEF.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustices of poverty, inequality and climate change. Working with a broad network of experts and partners in over 170 countries, UNDP helps nations to build integrated and lasting solutions for people and planet.
UNDP is committed to addressing the youth unemployment and underemployment challenge through equipping youth with vocational skills, increasing the competitiveness of youth within the labour market, building capacities of national institutions to mainstream youth employment, and supporting youth-led enterprises to pilot and scale innovative ideas.
About Tony Elumelu Foundation
The Tony Elumelu Foundation is the leading champion of entrepreneurship in Africa, with the objective of empowering women and men across the continent, catalysing economic growth, driving poverty eradication, and ensuring job creation. The Tony Elumelu Foundation’s vision is predicated on our Founder, Mr. Tony O. Elumelu C.F.R.’s economic principle of Africapitalism, which emphasises the critical role that the private sector – more specifically entrepreneurs – play in the fulfilment of Africa’s development, and to actualize this, the private sector must create both economic and social wealth.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme is a flagship programme of the Foundation with the purpose of: i) identifying 10,000 African start-ups and entrepreneurs with ideas that have the potential to succeed, over a period of ten years; ii) supporting the growth of these businesses through business training, mentorship, access to seed funding, and admitting entrepreneurs as members of the Foundation’s Africa-wide alumni network and; iii) creating businesses that can generate at least 1 million new jobs and contribute at least $10 billion USD in new annual revenues across Africa.