Stakeholders, both government and private sector has been called upon to provide the requisite platform to support numerous wonderful ideas and innovations of young people in the climate space.
According to Dr. Yaw Agyeman Boafo, a research fellow at the Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Studies, University of Ghana indicated that green business is the way to go in the quest to tackle climate change, hence attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
To him, sustainable development is the way to go, hence green business. Therefore, investing in young people’s innovations is of essence because the youth are the present and need to take the lead.
“They are the ones expected to be controlling the affairs of countries of the world or Sub-Saharan Africa in the coming years. And the youth with their energy can start the movement of driving green businesses all around us”, he reiterated.
Dr. Yaw Boafo made this appeal at the 3-day YouSustain Conference held from 6th to 8th December, 2023 in Accra.
The YouSustain Conference created a platform for young people, developmental agencies, and researchers to have an intellectual discourse on how best young people can be supported to contribute to urban sustainability in sub-Saharan Africa through ecopreneurship.And provided a networking and resource opportunity for young people involved in ecopreneural businesses to share knowledge and potentially collaborate for green business development; select practical ecopreneural ideas as well as explore how successful practices and solutions for sustainability in sub-Saharan African cities can be transformed into viable youth-led ecopreneurship ventures, and identify the key enabling factors and potential barriers to their establishment and growth.Speaking to the media, the Research Fellow explained that it is time for stakeholders both in the government and private sector to give technical support to build young people’s capacity as well as financial support that would aid them to utilize the skills and knowledge acquired, hence turning their ideas into businesses that can survive and help address the multiple sustainable development challenges facing Sub-Saharan Africa which Ghana is not an exception.
“Yes, the National Youth Policy and other youth related policies exist.However, the challenge the youth are facing is financial backing to practically implement their business ideas to help fight climate change”, he emphasized.
He was however hopeful that the conference would provide the needed platform to attract financial support for young ecopreneurs in the Sub-Sahara Region including Ghana.
Dr. Boafo used the occasion to urge young people to continue to be dedicated, committed and should never give up on their eco-business.
“Young people should develop resilience, have the energy or the desire to keep working on what they believe in and should be willing to work with other people from different parts of the continent”, he admonished.
Elaborating more on the purpose of the 3-day conference, the Conference Coordinator, Mr. Paul Dankwa explained it was to provide a networking and resource opportunity for young people involved in ecopreneural businesses to share knowledge and potentially collaborate for green business development; select viable ecopreneur ideas from the conference and provide them with incubation support and potential grants for their project implementation.
In addition, to create a platform for young people to showcase their green businesses, products, and services, and gain exposure and visibility for their work, hence exploring avenues for upscaling; and exploring how successful practices and solutions for sustainability in sub-Saharan African cities can be transformed.
Mr. Dankwa, who is also a Research officer at the Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO) hinted that green business ideas of young people would be compiled to help them get the requisite technical and financial support for the realization of these eco-business and believe this will aid the fight against climate change and provide a safe environment for all and sundry.
The 3-day YouSustain Conference was organized by the Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO) in partnership with the Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Studies (C3SS) of the University of Ghana, the Youth Climate Council Ghana (YCC), the GAYO Eco Clubs Africa, the OR Foundation, the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), and the Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA).
Over the 3 days, key sessions including a sustainable climate research and innovation pitch were delivered, a green product exhibition, and an industrial tour of businesses promoting sustainability.