Honorable Minister of Youth, H.E Ambassador of the Republic of Korea

Honorable KOICA Country Director; Honorable Director General of NIRDA

Dear Chairman of Liquid Telecom Rwanda; UNFPA Rep

Colleagues from the One UN Family, Partners and friends,

All protocols observed.

Muraho Mwese! Mwaramutse neza

It is a great pleasure and honor to be here today to attend this important signing ceremony aimed to support the scaling-up of the YouthConnekt initiative.

Since 2012, UNDP has been supporting the Government of Rwanda through the Ministry of Youth and ICT (now Ministry of Youth) in empowering the youth through the YouthConnekt initiative. YouthConnekt is a multifaceted youth empowerment model focused on leveraging youth employability, entrepreneurship and civic engagement through innovation that resulted in the creation of more than 8,000 jobs and the participation of millions of youth in civic education activities. Building on its success, 10 African countries have now launched the initiative and many others are in the process of doing so.

Allow me to acknowledge the contribution of the Ministry of Youth under the leadership of Hon Minister for those impressive achievements and for the fruitful partnership established with UNDP and the One UN family.

It is within this framework that I am extremely pleased to be here this morning to sign these important partnership agreements to strengthen our cooperation and further scale-up the YouthConnekt initiative.

The first such agreement is this Memorandum of Understanding with Liquid Telecom - which is one of the largest data, voice and IP providers in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa. Let me take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to Liquid Telecom, represented today by Mr. Sam Nkusi, Chairman of Liquid Telecom Rwanda for your commitment to support the empowerment of Rwandan youth.

If we are to create more employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for young people, we will need a broad and concerted effort involving many stakeholders. While governments are primarily responsible for creating an enabling environment, the private sector has the biggest role to play as the main driver of job creation and economic growth.

Under this agreement between UNDP and Liquid Telecom, we will cooperate in the following areas, among others: (1) Provision of connectivity for the implementation of the YouthConnekt activities, (2) Provision of technical support to youth to develop their ICT skills through trainings, mentorship, coaching, provision of hardware equipment and the organization of ICT competitions, (3) Provision of technical support for the development of YouthConnekt online platforms.  Those areas of cooperation are perfectly aligned with the YouthConnekt scaling-up strategy in Rwanda and across the continent.

Honorable Minister, your excellency Ambassador, Chairman of Liquid Telecom, NIRDA Director General, dear UNFPA Representative, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to conclude by reiterating the commitment of UNDP in Rwanda to continue working with the Government of Rwanda and its partners in empowering our youth in every aspect of their lives so that they can effectively contribute to their national development.

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