Campus News

ULK hosts YouthConnekt Hangout with the Theme “I Lead the Future”

On Thursday, June 13, 2024, Kigali Independent University (ULK) hosted a session of the prestigious YouthConnekt Hangout, themed “I Lead the Future”. This event brought together over 1,500 young students and staff from three higher learning institutions: ULK, INES Ruhengeri, and IPRC Gishari, with INES Ruhengeri and IPRC Gishari attending virtually. Among notable guests were Mr. Parfait Busabizwa, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Arts and Guest of Honor, representatives from the MINUBUMWE, and delegates from National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) and I&M Bank, among others.

In his opening remarks, ULK Vice Chancellor Dr. SIKUBWABO Cyprien warmly welcomed the guests to the ULK campus, kicking off the event. The event proceeded smoothly with a fruitful panel discussion featuring knowledgeable panelists.

ULK Vice Chancellor Dr. SIKUBWABO Cyprien
ULK Vice Chancellor Dr. SIKUBWABO Cyprien

Ms. GATANA Vanessa, Senior Analyst for Financial Inclusion and Education at the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), shared strategies and envisioned initiatives to support young people in engaging with financial institutions effectively and efficiently. She also discussed challenges hindering youth access to these institutions.

Mr. ABEHO Roger, Program Manager for MSMEs at Access To Finance Rwanda (AFR), explained their research findings on why young people hesitate to fully embrace financial institution services which is mainly due to lack of information. He highlighted various financial opportunities available for the youth.

Mrs. RUSARO Mugisha, founder and CEO of Rusaro Autism Foundation and an entrepreneur, shared her entrepreneurship journey. She recounted her struggle to obtain a bank loan but was fortunate to have a supportive parent who agreed to be her guarantor, enabling her to secure the loan. She elaborated on the challenges she faced, particularly her difficulty with speaking, but ultimately she succeeded.

Mr. Abdulrahman NIYONIZEYE, founder and CEO of SmartClass Rwanda, discussed numerous opportunities and competitions available for youth that provide financial support without requiring collateral.

Following the panel discussion, the panelists received questions from both the in-person and virtual youth participants. These questions were answered thoroughly, helping the young students to better understand and recognize the opportunities available to them in socio-economic development and for the broader development of their country.

“Financial institutions give loans only to degree holders, what about us who are still studying?” asked a student to Ms. GATANA Vanessa representing BNR, to which she answered: “ there are many opportunities for students but they have to look for them and get actively involved in the financial sector to be always updated”. She also urged them to join access to finance to receive guidance through the process of loan acquisition as well as other financial activities. 

YouthConnekt Hangout panelists interacting with the audience and answering students questions

Mr. SEWASE Jean Claude, a specialist in unity and citizenship dissemination and research at MINIBUMWE, focused his speech on Rwandan values such as love of country, love of work, integrity, and unity. He emphasized that by embracing these values, the youth can help achieve the national vision. He highlighted the advantages Rwandan youth have due to the country’s security, liberty, and national and internation market access.

Mr. Parfait Busabizwa, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Arts and  of honor, addressed the youth, emphasizing the numerous opportunities available for projects aligned with Rwanda’s Vision 2050. He mentioned that the government has established various institutions, such as the Business Development Fund (BDF), to support youth cooperatives and facilitate their collaboration with financial institutions. In his closing remarks, he reminded the youth to choose the best leader in the forthcoming presidential election.

Mr. Parfait Busabizwa, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Arts
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Arts, Mr. Parfait Busabizwa delivering his closing remarks as the main speaker as well as the guest of honor of the YouthConnekt Hangout
ULK students and staff carefully learning from the different speeches given by the panelists