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The role of SMEs in rwanda from 1995 to 2010

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par Clotilde MUKAMUGANGA
National University of Rwanda - A0 2011

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2.11. Rwandan rural sector

The Rwandan economy is dominated by agricultural activities and 90% of the population is based in rural areas. Due to this land scarcity, the primary sector is characterized by old plantations and the stagnation or decrease of the production. The majority of workers in this sector are independent (76, 81%) and family helpers (15,22%) with no required qualifications. The remunerated employment concerns only less than 6% of those involved in agriculture and stock farming. The salaries are not motivating especially to young graduates who chose to go for remunerated jobs in the modern sector. On top of this, the difficulty of access to land and loans should also pointed out as it considerably hampers the chances of integration in this sector and limits access to technological innovations.

It is an illusion to think that the modern sector alone will solve the problem of unemployment in the short term.

The size of the rural labor force justifies the establishment of rural employment alternative programmes. It is therefore imperative that diversified strategies of developing traditional employment should be initiated.

2.11.1. Problems of Rwandan rural areas

It is in rural area that malnutrition prevails and where there is the greatest poverty. This means that development of Rwandan rural areas is confronted with serious problems. In the government policy on agriculture, food self-sufficiency is one of the top priorities. Nevertheless, this food self-sufficiency is under strong constraints and handicaps, particularly from the massive rural population growth which consequently leads to a progressive reduction of suitable land for cultivation. This problem has been aggravated mainly by the mountainous nature of the country and by inappropriate management methods. Excessive division of exploitable land constitutes a challenge to maintaining the fragile food equilibrium and again makes the problem of food self-sufficiency more complicated (Jean MARARA: 1).

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