BUJUMBURA September 25th (ABP) – On the occasion of the National Youth Forum “Youth impulse, third edition”, organized from September 21 to 22, 2023 by the Ministry of the East African Community, Youth, Sports and Culture via the youth economic empowerment and employment program (PAEEJ), the national coordinator of the said program, Professor Désiré Manirambona presented the achievements of the PAEEJ for the period from April 2021 to the end of July 2023.
That coordinator recalled that PAEEJ is an initiative of the government of Burundi, set up with the aim of solving the thorny problem of youth unemployment. The said program involves three components. Mr. Manirambona cited the strengthening of the capacities of young unemployed people wanting to convert into other professions or in their areas of expertise, emphasizing above all the change in mentality. He also cited youth entrepreneurship with the objective of supporting all the selected projects. It also means creating jobs for everyone, particularly young unemployed people.
According to the national coordinator of the PAEEJ, the financing method is structured around three categories. That concerns the financing of young people grouped in hillside cooperatives, the financing of young people with innovative projects but who lack capital and the financing of successful young entrepreneurs with proven experience but needing additional capital to expand or increase their exploitation.
The PAEEJ also works for the employability component of young people by facilitating the professional integration of young people through their placement through first job internships (at least 1000 internships per year) in partner companies which will agree to welcome young people for a paid work internship of 6 to 12 months with a commitment to retain at least half after one year. Those not selected will be asked to show a project that the PAEEJ can finance.
Regarding the assessment of achievements for the period from April 2021 to the end of July 2023, Mr. Manirambona indicated that the PAEEJ has already directly trained 9,982 young people and raised awareness of 81,320 others.
For the youth entrepreneurial component, 1,502 projects of village cooperatives were financed for the first category, 654 small and medium-sized enterprises were financed for the 2nd category and 28 projects of successful young entrepreneurs were financed for the 3rd category.
For the youth employability component, 2,798 jobs actually created (189 within the PAEEJ) and 2,028 in projects financed by the PAEEJ, 4,213 jobs potentially created within cooperatives financed by the PAEEJ, 23,532 jobs potentially created by the PAEEJ, 1906 interns awarded, 106 of whom were hired by their assigned institutions.
Among the challenges, Mr. Manirambona noted the difficulty of being able to properly supervise young PAEEJ beneficiaries because they are scattered in different corners of the country, the problem of selling products given that Burundians prefer imported products more than those manufactured locally, the deficit in seed supply centers, whether animal or plant, the problem of certifying products to be able to export them, the BBN not having a laboratory that meets international standard standards, the climate change which hampers the development of certain businesses, especially those working in the agricultural sector, the inability to meet the training needs of all young people, hence the need to organize online training.
He asked Burundi’s development partners to support that youth empowerment program.
That Youth Forum which lasted two days allowed certain young beneficiaries of this program to sell their products, the objective of the PAEEJ being to ensure the visibility of these young people.
The said forum was also an opportunity to discuss the role of the government and that of young people in achieving the vision of Burundi, an emerging country in 2040 and developed in 2060. According to him, the debates around that subject were rich and the report which will be forwarded to the highest authority for consideration and the youth have demonstrated their commitment to achieving the said vision.