Opportunities for Africa’s green industrial transformation rife but efforts needed in skills development and funding

Jacob’s Ladder Africa, a not-for-profit organisation focused on green workforce readiness, along with the Future of Development Programme at the Oxford Martin School, at University of Oxford, hosted a roundtable discussion on green livelihoods and the future of jobs in Africa.

The roundtable convened key individuals from academia, industry, international development sector and the youth population to raise key challenges and opportunities to facilitate Africa’s workforce to participate in the green economy.

(TOP: Participants at the Green Livelihoods and the Future of Jobs in Africa roundtable).

Speaking at the event, Sellah Bogonko, the CEO and co-founder Jacob’s Ladder Africa, said: “Climate change presents Africa with an opportunity- which if harnessed can significantly address the giant that is youth unemployment on the continent. We have a vision to catalyse 30 million jobs in the green economy in Africa by 2033 and through forums like these we are able to establish collaboration with like-minded organisations and individuals.”

Building dignified livelihoods for Africa’s youth requires overhauling the continent’s industries, which is also the pathway for climate transformation. This presents an opportunity to reshape industrial action on the continent from the ground up.

Africa has three elements that position it well for a rapid green industrial transformation: that is a youthful population driven to innovation; a wealth of natural resources; and an abundance of renewable energy potential such as geothermal, solar and wind resources.

According to James Mwangi, the CEO, Africa Climate Ventures, embracing renewable energy for the continent’s use can eliminate approximately 12bn tonnes out of the global emissions ecosystem.

A demand-driven approach to skills development is required in order to help young people leverage the opportunities in the green economy. Climate action requires significant funding to support infrastructure development.

“We need an innovative ecosystem to bring government, private sector, investor capitalists, academia and entrepreneurs in order to leverage the opportunities in the green economy,” said Dr. Mahreen Khan from the University of Oxford.

Jacob’s Ladder Africa seeks to activate 30 million jobs in the African Green Economy by 2033. We are a non-governmental youth-centric organisation predominantly focused on shaping the narrative of workforce readiness for the emerging Green Economy in Africa. The non-profit works through research focused on identifying opportunities and gaps in the green economy. It designs and rolls out curricula to address gaps in climate literacy as well as
conduct targeted training programs.

The Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Development (FoD) is a five-year research programme (2021 – 2026) made possible by the generosity of the Allan and Gill Gray Foundation. The aim is to create more and better economic opportunities for all in a changing world. The group focused on low- and middle-income countries and work towards: more equitable and well-functioning labour markets; fostering entrepreneurship and technological solutions for small and medium sized enterprises; and a just green energy transition.

The team consists of post-doctoral and pre-doctoral researchers conducting rigorous research, creating evidence-based solutions and tools for decision makers, providing platforms for new ideas, and sharing insights through events and publications.


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