‘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 our people,’ said Belise Kariza, Chief Tourism Officer of the Rwanda Development Board. ‘However, 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.’
Rwanda’s tourism and hospitality sector is a key national priority and is growing at a rapid pace, with ripple 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.
‘The Rwanda Development Board has made great strides to advance Rwanda’s tourism and hospitality sector to be globally competitive by providing multiple opportunities for a young and growing labour force,’ said Rica Rwigamba, Senior Programme Manager and Acting Country Representative of the Mastercard Foundation. ‘Together, we will strengthen the quality of skills training, support, and resources required to prepare young people for current and future work in this sector.’
Partners collaborating in the Hanga Ahazaza initiative include Cornell University, Dalberg, ESPartners, GIZ, GroFin, Harambee, Horwath HTL, I&M Bank Rwanda, Inkomoko, Question Coffee, and Vatel Rwanda.
‘The tourism and hospitality sector can open doors for many young people like myself,’ said Florence Muhongayire, graduate of Cornell University’s professional e-learning programme that is part of the Hanga Ahazaza initiative. ‘I now have the skills I need to compete in this market and I want to help bring the industry up to standard by sharing what I’ve learned with others.’