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Rwanda celebrates International Youth Day discussing the opportunities and challenges in migration

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The world is getting younger and younger. In fact, more than 60% of Rwanda’s population is already under 35 and this is likely to grow. This makes the youth a priority.

This year’s International Youth Day (IYD) theme centered around migration and how it moves development forward. According to the UN, by 2010, the global number of international migrants aged 15 to 24 reached 27 million, more than 10% the annual total of some 214 million. In other words, young people move and when they move, there are both risks and opportunities.

In Rwanda, during IYD, the youth at Kigali Independent University and Rwanda Tourism University College discussed the challenges and opportunities involved in migrating away from home.

Migration from rural to urban areas is the largest form of migration in the country with 38.7% of this migration caused by unemployment and 10% due to land scarcity. Young people leave in hopes of finding employment and better opportunities, but face various challenges including mindset, skills gap, pace and language.

Speaking at the occasion, Executive Secretary of Rwanda National Youth Council, Alphonse Nkuranga said migration can be beneficial if it is an opportunity to gain skills and work towards the development of one’s new home.

Nkuranga also encouraged young people to think of themselves as the solution to a problem. “Think innovation, respond to a gap and if you need skills, work on getting them. Your country needs you.”

Young people also shared their experiences asking the government to do more to provide skills to migrants so they can compete for good jobs, open businesses and pay it forward.

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