Burundi: Launch of young people and women's development project, 87% financed by the African Development Bank

01 Feb 2024
Aspyee Admin
Burundi: Launch of young people and women's development project, 87% financed by the African Development Bank

Meeting in Gitega on 26 October, the East African Community, the Burundian Government and the African Development Bank Country Office officially launched the Agro-Pastoral Entrepreneurship and Vocational Development Project for young people and women in Burundi. The project received $20 million in funding (87% of its total cost) from the Bank Group.

The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Education and Scientific Research, François Havyarimana; the Minister of Youth, Gervais Abayeho; the Head of the East African Region Education and Skills Development Division at the African Development Bank, Hendrina Chalwe Doroba; and the Bank's Country Manager for Burundi, Pascal Yembiline.

Before the ceremony itself, the dignitaries visited the Rusi Regional Centre for Polytechnic Training and Vocational Retraining in the Province of Karusi, which had been opened in September 2022 by President Évariste Ndayishimiye. The main site for the future beneficiaries of the project, the Rusi Centre, is located some 50 kilometres from the political capital, Gitega. It extends over 156 hectares, 142 hectares of which will be devoted to agro-pastoral production.

Through the project, this vocational education infrastructure will receive support to make it a centre of excellence, based on the school-business approach, which aims to innovate at the service of the community. It will host at least 2,000 students (30% of whom will be girls) for certificate or diploma level courses. Approximately 3,000 cooperatives with 15,000 members (50% women) will benefit from capacity building and 10 digital centres across the country will be interconnected by the project at the Rusi Centre to provide greater access to technical education.

Speaking at the ceremony, François Havyarimana said: "We commend the African Development Bank's multiple actions in Burundi in general and its investment in the field of human capital in particular. We are pleased with the project's alignment with our 'Burundi, A Country Emerging in 2040 and Developed in 2060' vision document and with our National Policy and Strategy for Technical Education and Vocational Training 2022-2027".

Gervais Abayeho added, "This project is in line with the priorities of the Government of Burundi and meets its vision of improving agricultural productivity and introducing new agri-food processing technologies. It will support the move towards the structural transformation of the economy and the diversification of sectors that bring opportunities for the young people who account for 60% of the country's population."

Pascal Yembiline, the Bank's Country Office Manager in Burundi, thanked the Government for involving the Bank in this vast vocational retraining programme which aims to equip young people and women with the technical skills they need for Burundi's economic development.

"This project comes at an opportune time, with the Bank having recently launched its Skills for Employability and Productivity in Africa (SEPA) Action Plan 2022-2025, which aims to bridge the skills gap in the context of the fourth industrial revolution and the digital transformation in the labour market," he said.

After the visit to the Rusi Centre, the ceremony was concluded with a launch workshop.

Rusi Centre, the ceremony was concluded with a launch workshop.