Green Growth Africa Sustainability Network (GGA), a UNEP accredited non- governmental organisation has advised the need for Nigeria and Africa to aggressively equip its youths with green skills to leverage their enthusiasm, resilience, and exploratory spirit to optimize opportunities in climate change and develop new green industries.
Adedoyin Adeleke, Executive Director, GGA made this call at a press conference to commemorate the 2023 International Youth Day themed ‘Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World’.
He said over 60 percent of Africa’s population are below 25 years and by 2030, nearly half of the world’s youth population will be from Africa which provides an opportunity for concrete sustainable socio-economic development on the continent.
Adeleke said equipping youths with green skill must be prioritised because despite contributing 3 percent of the global emissions of greenhouse gasses, Africa is disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of climate change as it faces escalating climate-related extreme weather disasters, including floods, extreme heat, erratic rainfall, etc. which is amplifies food insecurity, poor health, conflict, internal displacement, among others.
“These altogether are deepening extreme poverty and other socioeconomic challenges that the continent already faces, further projections suggest that annual costs of the climate crisis for African nations could skyrocket to $50 billion by 2050,” he said.
Adeleke noted that there have been calls for nations around the world including African countries to reduce emissions however what Africa requires are climate solutions that not only reduce carbon emissions but also fast track social and economic development.
“Africa needs to mobilise critical mass of resources, enact enabling laws and policy environment to support acquisition of green skills and support the establishment of new enterprises that are critical enablers global green transition,” he said.
He said a 2023 report by Arup and Oxford Economics estimates that the transition to a net zero emissions environment by 2050 will create new industries worth $10.3 trillion to the global economy by that same year such as a growing market demand for electric vehicles, renewable power generation, clean energy equipment, renewable fuels, as well as green finance and activities that would support supply chains across the globe.
“Harnessing these opportunities require that the youth be armed with green skills and action competences to leverage their creativity to innovate and chart new courses for climate action that does not only reduce carbon emissions but also advance social and economic capital,” he said.
He also called on developed nations to redeem their $100 billion dollar pledge for the Climate Fund agreed in COP21, financial pledges made to the Adaptation Fund in COP26, and the recent loss and damage fund agreed to at COP27.
“African policymakers need to find innovative ways to connect public, private, and concessional finance; these funds should be mobilized for multidimensional and multi-sectoral strategic interventions for green growth; By funding capital- intensive adaptation projects, developed countries can productively, effectively, and efficiently partner with African nations in developing green growth solutions that not only benefit Africa but also significantly support the develop nations,” he said.