Why did ERB introduce the Entrepreneurship and Financial Inclusion program?
Women and young people make up the majority of the population and are active players in the development of the rural world. The economic empowerment of women and young people is a guarantee in the fight against poverty. Both groups have difficult access to professional jobs and credit, especially in rural areas. Rural women, despite their dominant role in agriculture, still have difficulty in controlling productive resources. Rural women are particularly affected by the consequences of the prevailing socio-political situation, with the more frequent displacement of husbands/men and a degradation of household livelihoods, forcing them to resort to survival strategies. Rural and semi-urban youth: More than half of Burundi's population is under 20 years of age. The literacy level of people over 15 years of age is 61.6% and men are significantly more literate than women (69.6% compared to 54.7%). In 2015, it is estimated that 65.3% of the workforce is made up of a young population, aged between 20 and 24, while the level of investment in training and professional integration is still very insufficient. Compared to young men, young women have significantly less access to economic opportunities and productive resources. According to IFAD's 2016 survey, the rural financial inclusion rate remains very low in Burundi, with 8.5% of rural people having an account with a financial institution in 2013, compared to 23.6% at the national level. In rural areas, women (7.9%) and youth (7.1%) are the least represented. Despite the growth of solidarity credit, financial products and services are still very difficult to access; a large proportion of rural dwellers are even excluded from solidarity groups.
ERB implements this programme through the following strategic axes:
Support and creation of associations and pre-cooperatives of young people and women with entrepreneurial vocation for agricultural development and food security. Agricultural entrepreneurship for young Burundian women and men implies the creation of jobs through which producers are supported in all phases of agricultural and animal chain development. Young agronomists or economists are recruited and trained to support producers.
Vocational training of young women and men in trades. ERB initiates vocational training activities in sewing, mechanics, beekeeping, processing of fruit into commercial juices, and welding for the benefit of young women and men in the provinces of Cibitoke and Bubanza.
Financial inclusion in rural areas through the Community Savings and Loans System, which is based on the contributions of the members of a Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA). Thanks to the experiences in the creation and monitoring of Credit Savings Groups in more than three provinces (Bubanza, Cibitoke, Karuzi), ERB wants to create a micro finance to support young entrepreneurs who invest in particular in agricultural production and processing, trades such as sewing, mechanics, beekeeping, hotels and restaurants, ITC, etc..