The Third Edition of Innovation Week and the Second Edition for the Intercontinental Dialogue on Youth, Peace and Security in Full Swing

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Under the theme “Youth innovation pillar of the acceleration of economic development for an Emerging Burundi” the government of Burundi, through the Ministry in charge of youth, the Ministry in charge of Media and ICTs and under the high patronage of the President of the Republic of Burundi, Evariste Ndayishimiye, champion of the African Union, in collaboration with the African Union, the UNDP (United Nations Development Program), and the PAEEJ- Burundi (Economic Empowerment and Youth Employment Program of Burundi) organized one-week opening activities of Innovation Week competition for the third edition and the second Edition for the intercontinental dialogue on youth, peace and security on Monday December 11, 2023 at the Public Garden of Bujumbura.

These activities were honored by the Resident Representative of UNDP, Mathieu Ciowela, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Youth, Séverin Mbarubukeye, the National Coordinator of PAEEJ, Dr. Désiré Manirakiza, representatives of civil society and those of the private sector, media as well as entrepreneurs. The ceremonies were enhanced by performances by a group of drummers called “Akayazwe” and the traditional dance association called “Abagumyabanga” which includes both boys and girls.


Performances of the traditional dance association called “Abagumyabanga” which includes both boys and girls.
Performancesof the group of drummers called “Akayazwe”

There was also avisit  of the stands of the exhibition fair of various products from different innovators. These products included recycled plastic products, processed agricultural products, artwork, clothing, slippers, etc.

UNDP Resident Representative, Mathieu Ciowela, congratulated the entrepreneurs who submitted their innovative projects. He noted that 646 candidates were able to submit their projects during the 3rd edition of Innovation Week Competition. For young entrepreneurs, Ciowela talks about the 5Cs which include creativity, collaboration, communication, collectivity and growth.


Mathieu Ciowela, UNDP Resident Representative,

According to Ciowela, the combination of these aforementioned 5Cs helps young entrepreneurs better realize their innovative projects, grow and achieve their goals. “In any competition, there are always winners and losers. But we must not discourage those who have not taken this last step,” says Ciowela to encourage those whose projects have not been selected.

The national coordinator of Paeej-Burundi, Dr Désiré Manirakiza, indicated that among the 646 candidates who submitted their projects, 163 were girls and 483 boys. “At the end of the pre-selection, 44 projects were selected and supervised. But from November 23 to 24, 2023 in Gitega, the 44 projects were analyzed by a jury according to the criteria of project innovation, relevance, capacity, technical compliance and financial feasibility. We then selected 10 projects which are classified as 70% for boys and 30% for girls,” he reveals.


Dr. Désiré Manirakiza, The national coordinator of Paeej-Burundi,

The innovators whose projects were selected include Désiré Minani from Bubanza who does handicrafts, Divine Nzoyihiki from Kirundo who is in the manufacturing industry, Célestin Niyomwungere from Bururi who makes hair oils, Neilla Confiance Ineza who makes candles , Jean Florent Giramahoro who produces fodder, Bonaventure Manirakiza who manufactures granular machines, Yvanie Tunganirwa who is in mental health, Juvent Nsanzerugeze from Gitega who manufactures tiles and Adribert Ndamuhawenimana who manufactures organic fertilizers.

The discussion panels were organized and there were questions/answers between panelists and participants thanks to the moderators. To the question on the measures taken to support young innovators, Serges Nsabimana who represented the ADB responded by saying that the ADB is the facilitator of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. “We are responsible for promoting investments, exports, improving the business climate which are the gateway for investors here in Burundi,” he said.

The discussion panels

According to Marie Louise Kamikazi Director of RIM (Réseau des Institutions de Microfiances), for Burundi to emerge in 2040, women must also contribute because they are also capable of carrying out profitable and innovative activities. However, she raised certain challenges which are among the obstacles that prevent women from carrying out such activities. She spoke about the lack of financial capital, the lack of mortgage, cultural and temporal challenges, the lack of mutual aid, male domination, the fear of investing and the lack of self-confidence.

To conclude the round table, Jean Claude Irambona and Blaise Hakizjmana suggested that, as cases of stolen art are numerous, property rights should be established in Burundi.

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