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Ghana Forum Links Youth with Green Employment Opportunities

Empowering Ghana's Youth in the Green Economy Revolution

by Adenike Adeodun

At a crucial time when eco-friendly employment is increasingly important, Ghana recently held an influential forum dedicated to Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities (GrEEn). Spearheaded by SNV Ghana, a renowned global development entity, this event was a significant part of the Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship (YEE) Global Forum 2023. Its primary goal was to immerse aspiring entrepreneurs in the green job market, highlighting the shift towards sustainable employment.

The forum united a diverse array of participants, ranging from local experts to global authorities. Consequently, it was more than just an exchange of ideas; it was an essential platform for young entrepreneurs to absorb success stories and challenges in the green sector. This gathering offered invaluable networking opportunities and insights, aligning budding ambitions with the sustainable objectives of the green economy.

Central to this initiative was the GrEEn Project, steered by the Ministry of Local Government Decentralisation and Rural Development and the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations. Supported by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), this project addresses the root causes of irregular migration by bolstering stable, climate-resilient local economies and fostering job creation. It represents a proactive stance against migration challenges, climate change, and economic instability.

According to a report by Daily Graphic, Barbara White Nkoala, Ghana Country Director of SNV, underscored the GrEEn project’s alignment with the European Union Green Deal. It aims to unlock the potential towards a green, circular economy. The project’s broad goals include invigorating local economies, improving skills for employability and entrepreneurship, enhancing financial services access, and nurturing SMEs that offer sustainable employment opportunities, particularly for youth, women, and returnees. This strategy marks a significant step toward building a robust green economy in Ghana.

Key initiatives like the GrEEn Innovation Challenge underline the project’s progress. This challenge, by granting financial support to SMEs with innovative, eco-friendly business ideas, has already distributed over Ghc3 million to 26 young entrepreneurs. These grants act as pivotal growth and sustainability boosters within the green economy.

The forum also highlighted existing challenges. Ignatius Baffour Awuah, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, pointed out the potential for job losses and livelihood threats that could worsen poverty and inequality. He stressed the need to leverage collective knowledge and experience across different actors to effectively coordinate and promote green job initiatives throughout various sectors.

As the forum wrapped up, its influence extended beyond the immediate discussions. It emphasized the urgent need for collaborative efforts to advance the green agenda. Connecting young entrepreneurs with industry leaders, the forum laid a foundation for innovative solutions and sustainable growth within Ghana’s green economy.

This event isn’t just a landmark for Ghana but serves as an inspiration for other countries striving to balance economic growth with environmental sustainability. The GrEEn project and its forum are exemplary, demonstrating how strategic partnerships, innovative thinking, and youth empowerment can lead to a greener, more prosperous future.

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