The partnership will build critical links between young job-seekers and employers, work with employers to develop skills training programs for young employees, and identify skills gaps in Rwanda’s tourism and hospitality sector.
Hanga Ahazaza is a US$50 million initiative from the Mastercard Foundation to create work opportunities for 30,000 Rwandan youth over five years.
Hanga Ahazaza, meaning “create the future”, is a consortium of 12 partners from the education, development, and private sectors.
Working together, they are supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs in the tourism and hospitality sector through increased access to financial services and training, and by connecting them to young people with the skills needed to be successful employees.
Since its launch in 2018, the Hanga Ahazaza initiative has enabled 2,607 Rwandan youth to access dignified and fulfilling work and supported 183 youth-owned businesses.
Commenting on the partnership, Belise Kariza, Chief Tourism Officer of the Rwanda Development Board said that the Government believes in promoting tourism and hospitality and has tirelessly supported the creation of a conducive environment for the sector to prosper and benefit the people.
She, however, observed: “We require a skilled workforce to cope with the growing trends of the industry. The Mastercard Foundation Hanga Ahazaza initiative is playing a significant role in addressing this challenge.”
Rica Rwigamba, the Acting Country Representative and Senior Program Manager of the Mastercard Foundation said: “Our partnership with the RDB is a significant step in the right direction for ensuring the success of the Hanga Ahazaza initiative and supporting young people to thrive in Rwanda’s growing tourism and hospitality sector.”
Growth in Rwanda’s tourism and hospitality sector is a key national priority and is growing at a rapid pace, with ripple growth effects in other sectors, such as agriculture and food processing.
However, challenges remain for young job-seekers and entrepreneurs, including gaps in skills development, work placement and experience, and access to financial services.
Gisele Ikuzwe, a student at Vatel Rwanda observed that hospitality is an open-door opportunity that provides youth with the skills and goals they need to thrive while at the same time contributing to Rwanda’s economic development.
“As a youth, we need to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset and not only think of becoming job-seekers – you also need to have the mindset and responsibility to create jobs,” she said.
Partners collaborating in the Hanga Ahazaza initiative include Cornell University, Dalberg, partners, GIZ, GroFin, Harambee, Horwath HTL, I&M Bank Rwanda, Inkomoko, Question Coffee, and Vatel Rwanda.
About the Mastercard Foundation
The Mastercard Foundation seeks a world where everyone can learn and prosper. The Foundation’s work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion for people living in poverty.
One of the largest foundations in the world, it works almost exclusively in Africa. It was created in 2006 by Mastercard International and operates independently under the governance of its own Board of Directors. The Foundation is based in Toronto, Canada.
About Rwanda Development Board
The Rwanda Development Board is responsible for tourism and conservation, as well as the entire investor experience. The Rwanda Development Board manages the tourism industry in Rwanda and ensures that the tourism and conservation goals of the Government of Rwanda are successfully implemented.