Prioritize support for green businesses – experts urge

Experts have emphasized the need to support innovative and green businesses as part of efforts to ensure sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Underlining the essence of entrepreneurship and a vibrant private sector in reviving and sustaining the economy, the experts acknowledged that this is impossible without complementary support for those championing innovations in the green space.

They also stressed the green sector’s potential for curbing the long-lasting unemployment situation in Ghana; saying opportunities can be leveraged to close the gap while combating negative impacts from climate change.

As it stands, some 1.76 million persons – according to the Ghana Statistical Service Quarterly Labour Statistics Report – were unemployed in the third quarter of 2022.

In view of this, an economist – Dr. Theophilus Acheampong, underlined that getting the youth in the green space is pertinent, adding that supporting green entrepreneurs by way of tax incentives, policy reforms and other robust measures to create long-term sustainable jobs is a necessity.

Corroborating Dr. Acheampong, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, noted is that is imperative to support green and smart businesses in today’s ever-changing landscape – underscoring the importance to nurturing and growing a generation of entrepreneurs who can become the driving force for growth of the green and circular economy, and in turn fuel the realisation of a sustainable future.

“I believe supporting the development of green skills among the youth, providing green business financial services, greening existing youth development and employment programmes, providing entrepreneurship and business start-ups as well as encouraging young enterprises to leverage on benefits of the cooperative system are ways that we can empower the youth to lead and own the transition to a green and sustainable future,” he stated in a speech read on his behalf.

He urged entrepreneurs to join forces with the same business aspirants to expand and grow.

“After all, two heads are better than one. The cooperatives system has so many benefits that you can leverage for the growth and expansion of your businesses. We know that establishing a new business is not an easy task, but when you come together as cooperatives you are able to share the risks and pool resources to support operations of the business,” he said.

The Switzerland Ambassador to Ghana, Mrs. Simone Giger, reiterated that the task of ensuring a sustainable environment can present immense opportunities and must be leveraged.

“The future is the Green Economy. Looking at the situation with optimism, we can see that tackling today’s environmental problems can answer the needs for job creation and open avenues for you (youths) to unleash your potential. Addressing the challenges associated with climate change is an imperative that cannot be denied,” she said.

The Chief Executive-National Youth Authority, Pius Hadzide, also threw weight behind calls to empower youths that are taking advantage of problems along the value chain to create needed solutions.

“That’s why we associate with programmes and projects that seek to empower young people and place them along the value chain in any way shape or form, so that they can take advantage of the myriad problems along the value chain and create needed solutions, and monetize those solutions. And therefore, like I said, create jobs for themselves,” he noted.

These remarks were made at the maiden edition of the Young Green Entrepreneurs Forum, organised by the Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND). The event aims to promote green jobs among young people.

The forum

In his address, Executive Coordinator-SYND, Chibeze Ezekiel, explained that the forum is to meant nurture the next crop of sustainable leaders – through the introduction and upscaling of innovative solutions in combating the threat of climate change, supporting an effective energy transition, and the creation of alternative, sustainable livelihoods.

This programme, coupled with SYND’s engagements with the green entrepreneurs, he said, will play a pivotal role in strengthening commitment to climate action and the empowerment of young persons in Ghana.

“This forum represents an excellent opportunity for young persons to wield their influence on green innovations, with an aim of promoting environmental sustainability. It is a chance to shape projects and innovative solutions among young people. By participating in this forum, young persons can actively contribute to the dialogue and decision-making process through which their concerns can be addressed,” he stated.