Strengthening Education and Learning Systems to Deliver a 4IR-ready Workforce in Rwanda

November 2, 2022
Although formal sector job creation in Rwanda has been impressive over the last 20 years, it has not kept pace with the increased number of secondary and tertiary school graduates, a rise fueled by a number of factors: improved access to education, a skills mismatch between labor supply and demand, and inadequate growth in productive jobs. Indeed, a large share of the growth outside the dominant agricultural sector in the past few decades has been in household enterprises—unincorporated, non-farm businesses owned by individuals—rather than the modern, industrial, or services enterprises that would be expected—and necessary—for sustainable growth and economic transformation.

These are some of the findings from the Youth Employment and Skills study Strengthening Education and Learning Systems to Deliver a 4IR-ready Workforce. The study also finds that Rwanda’s working-age population has increased gradually from 4 million in 2000 to approximately 6.7 million in 2018 (National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda, 2018). This has been complemented with an increase in both the employed and unemployed labor units. With a median age of 19 years, the population is very young, and this demographic profile will persist for the coming decades. However, the predominantly low levels of education threaten the expected demographic dividend. This is manifested by the high percentage of youth not in education, employment, or training (NEET), at 33.7 percent. Rates are significantly higher for women than men. Given the high level of unemployment in Rwanda and other African countries, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) presents opportunities—if effectively harnessed—but also challenges for countries that must be well prepared in advance.

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This study is part of a six-country project on Youth Employment and Skills (YES) and the changing nature of work. The project examines education and training systems and their ability to adjust to meet evolving labor demand in light of rapidly evolving digital technologies and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The six countries are Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Niger, Rwanda, and Uganda. The project evaluates the policies, regulations and institutional arrangements aimed at boosting educational outcomes and employment opportunities, especially job creation using innovative education and training initiatives.



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