GITEGA April 5th (ABP) – The National Coordinator of the Economic Empowerment and Youth Employment Program (PAEEJ-Burundi), Mr. Désiré Manirakiza with the Senior Advisor to the Governor of Gitega, Mr. Gérard Nibigira and the he administrator of the commune of Gitega, Dr. Jacques Nduwimana proceeded, on Friday, April 1st in Gitega, to the signing of the first conventions of financing of the projects of the young unemployed people in search of employment.
Some 28 projects and 404 cooperatives will be financed initially to the tune of approximately 4 billion Burundian francs.
In his speech, the national coordinator of PAEEJ-Burundi, indicated that this program has three main windows, namely capacity building for young people, entrepreneurship among young people and the employability of young unemployed graduates in order to fight against poverty, because according to him, 72% of the Burundian population are young people under the age of 35 and unemployment hits them three times higher than civil servants.
He also added that 93% of school graduates spend more than 5 years before having their first job.
Starting from the entrepreneurship window, Mr. Manirakiza indicated that the PAEEJ received and analyzed 157 files. He pointed out that among these, only 62 applications were accepted. He further indicated that after the analysis of the merits of these accepted files, the PAEEJ retained 28 files and signed their financing agreements on April 1, 2022 in Gitega. These are the projects of young nationals in 11 provinces of the country. 10 projects being from the town hall of Bujumbura, 6 from Gitega, 3 from Ngozi, 2 from Bubanza. The provinces of Ruyinga, Rutana, Mwaro, Rumonge, Makamba, Kirundo and Bujumbura each have 1 project. Mr. Manirakiza also explained that other 44 files which were retained and all other files rejected require retouching to be financed perhaps in the second round, because according to him, PAEEJ staff meet young people in their localities to help them. better develop their projects.
Alongside these 28 projects, the PAEEJ will also grant funding to 404 hillside cooperatives bringing together 8,080 young unemployed people seeking employment out of 3,000 youth cooperatives throughout the country. These cooperatives have developed short-cycle projects in the breeding of broilers, pigs and agriculture, he added.
As for the capacity building window, the PAEEJ national coordinator indicated that they have already trained 1,616 young leaders of the 404 cooperatives financed in the first round. He also said that these trainers have already trained 6,464 members of these cooperatives.
Given the doubts of journalists, Mr. Manirakiza said that every medal has its downside. He called on young people to overcome fear and develop profitable projects to obtain financing that is sometimes interest-free, because there will be no mortgages. He let them know that the first category will have loans without interest, but that the second and third category will reimburse the sum requested with an interest rate of 3 and 7% respectively. According to him, the terms of repayment of this debt will be analyzed between the PAEEJ and the cooperatives concerned. And to explain that this financing will be deposited in the accounts of these cooperatives opened at the BNDE bank or the BIJE.
The withdrawal of money will be progressive according to the activities to be carried out. It should be noted that the members of these hillside cooperatives must be young unemployed graduates looking for work aged between 16 and 40. Another thing to note is that siblings or spouses are not allowed to join the same cooperative.