‘Innovative volunteerism’ vital to solving Africa’s problems, climate change

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From: Kazeem Biriowo, Abuja

The UN Environment Regional Climate Change Coordinator, Dr Richard Munang on Friday says Africa is capable of addressing its numerous problems and also mitigate climate change impacts through innovative volunteerism.

Munang stressed that such model could foster greater actions and create wealth among youths especially in the agricultural value chains.

He spoke at the event organised by Impacting Rural Communities In Nigeria (IRUCIN) Foundation in partnership with other stakeholders. It was themed: “Driving Climate Action and Agro-Industrialisation for Youth Wealth Creation through Innovative Volunteerism”.

The event had in attendance representatives from related Ministries, Departments and Agencies both Federal and States.

Munang, during his remarks said regardless of anything, it is a popular claim, almost universal view that Africa is associated with problems, be it food insecurity, hunger, child mortality, insufficient energy among others.

He also stated that every adversity carries with it the seed of equal or greater benefit as Africa’s challenges are disguised opportunities for greatness.

“These challenges among many tell us one thing, the level of deprivation of our people is unacceptable under any standard,” Munang stated.

“It lays bare, the urgency to accelerate inclusive wealth creation. But amidst these challenges we know that every adversity carries with it the seed of equal or greater benefit” Africa’s challenges are disguised opportunities for greatness”.

“Africa’s story is bigger than Poverty. Africa is too rich to be poor- because let’s face it- poverty is not lack of finance alone but rather a defeated mindset.  For us to drive the SDGs and climate action we must get it right with the correct diagnosis & solutions.” He added.

Speaking further, Munang however, admonished the youths on taking the various Africa’s adversities as opportunities to unleash the continent’s expected growth and development. “What all this tell us is that no one ever changed things by fighting the existing realities. To change things, we must build new models that render existing models obsolete. And these model builders are people, not material things”.

“This is the essence of Innovative Volunteerism.  All of you here today need to leverage on nothing but your skills, talents and your constant quest to perfect and retool these skills”. He added.

The Assistant Director, Environment and Climate Change Unit of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Cyril Bikom during the panel session said, youths in Nigeria has lots of potentials to explore due to reasons that over the years, Nigeria has achieved less in crops exportation.

“Over One Trillion US Dollar agro value chain opportunities are still there for youths and investors to explore to cub harvest waste, generates income and keep the environment clean as an ultimate agenda in line with the sustainable development goals”

“Crop like cassava is a climate resilient crop and has over 400 million US Dollar investment potential in agricultural value chain”. He said.

According to the founder of IRUCIN Foundation, Ahunna Durugbo, the agricultural sector contributes greatly to the countryʼs Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and has a growing need to embrace the fourth industrial revolution leading to smart-agriculture.

She therefore called for a joint effort across levels of governments, public and private sector and individuals to tackle some of the challenges bedevilling the sector. “In commemoration with the world environment day, this event has been organized to address the need to drive climate action and agro-industrialization for socio-economic growth by leveraging on the skills, talents and initiatives of innovative volunteers.”

The National President, Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (UNEP-EBAFOSA) Oyesola James in his address advocated for the adoption of clean energy considering unemployment rate in the country.

According to him, the nation has over relied on fossil fuel which is gradually losing acceptability since the transition to renew able energy.

“Talking about renewable energy, which is clean energy, we will be losing if we are not making use of innovative renewable energy because we depend so much on oil as those who are buying our oil are now changing to renewable energy”. He noted.

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