50 African climate innovators build capacity at GIMPA
Fifty young African innovators have converged in Accra for a capacity-building programme that seeks to leverage technology to tackle the global climate crisis.
The climate tech innovators were selected from 4,786 applicants for the three-week learning programme being organised by the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Regional Leaders Centre, West Africa, in collaboration with the United States Embassy in Ghana.
45th YALI Cohort
Drawn from 19 countries in Western, Eastern, Northern and Southern Africa, the young climate innovators who are the 45th cohort of YALI will learn, network and collaborate to provide climate solutions in their respective countries.
The innovators are building capacity in the areas of business enterprise, civic leadership and public policy to help tackle the global climate crisis.
They are expected to delve more into technological solutions to climate impacts on the environment, energy, agriculture, health as well as vulnerabilities in local communities.
Addressing the opening session of the three-week programme at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) last Wednesday (October 11), the United States (US) Ambassador, Virginia E. Palmer, urged the young innovators to take the programme seriously as it was a golden opportunity to build their capacity for climate action in their communities.
She said the initiative was particularly important given that 17 out of the world's most vulnerable climate countries were in Africa.
"The people of Ghana and every country on this continent must be part of the solution.
We need sustainable solutions to the climate crisis that rely on innovation and create new industries, new jobs and new opportunities," she said.
Ms Palmer said although the global climate crisis was altering ecosystems, affecting economies and threatening the future of the planet, it was not too late to tackle the challenge head-on.
"We have the tools, the knowledge and the collective will to mitigate climate change and build a sustainable future," she said.
The US Ambassador also stressed that strong, courageous and committed leadership was required to face the obstacles associated with the climate crisis.
"We need to encourage our leaders to listen to the voices of people who are most affected by climate change, including those who generally are not part of the political decision-making process," she added.
The Project Director of YALI Regional Leaders Centre, Dr Esi E. Sey, said the initiative was a bold step towards leveraging the technology potential of young Africans for climate action.
"The planet is dying and someone has to sit up in the night and work to save it while others sleep.
Young people should rise to that challenge," she said.
Dr Sey underscored the need for all stakeholders in the climate space to work together to implement innovative policies and interventions that would accelerate climate action and reduce vulnerabilities in Africa.
In a speech delivered on his behalf, the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr Henry Kwabena Kokofu, said the government was committed to take sustainable actions to help deal with the climate crisis.
He described the YALI capacity-building programme as progressive because it would equip the young innovators with cutting-edge skills needed for the deployment of innovative climate change interventions.
Dr Kokofu said Ghana had rolled out both formal and informal capacity development programmes such as the Ghana Energy Development and Access Programme (GEDAP), Sustainable Land and Water Management project, Skills Development Fund (SDF) and the Human Resource Development Disseminating Solar PV and master course in renewable energy.
“The youth are encouraged to take advantage of some of these programmes and become channels for expanding some of these technologies across the country,” he said.