UN Environment   

Category: debate

Debate context


Ideas or innovations are in abundance in the African continent however converting these known ideas & innovations into full scale solutions have been the Achilles of the region. But there is winning formula that can see Africa unleash its potential under the changing climate.

Leveraging the physical & non-physical resources available to the continent, drawn from complementary sectors, towards a singular objective - optimizing productivity of catalytic sectors with immensity of unlocking socio-economic development could be done.  In fact Africa holds a comparative advantage within these catalytic sectors and if tapped could see Africa’s comparative advantage turn in to a global competitive edge. This is the essence of innovative volunteerism. Where multiple complementary stakeholders – individual & institutional; public, private & non-governmental in countries across Africa volunteer the physical (such as technological, institutional, financial) & non-physical (such as intellectual ability, partnerships, policies, networks) resources available to them, toward the shared objective of actualizing policy & ground actions to optimize productivity of the catalytic sustainable agriculture & its linkage to clean energy with intend to actualize Ecosystems Based Adaptation (EBA) Driven agro-industrialization powered by clean energy.

A highly catalytic area documented to potentially unlock socio-economic development imperatives through creating as many as 17 million jobs, and catalyzing an agro-sector projected to be worth $1trillion in less than 15 years. While simultaneously meeting climate objectives through the carbon offsetting and climate adaptation properties of clean energy & EBA-driven agriculture. Hence actualize provisions under the Paris Agreement to complete the cycle of benefits. Pockets of success stories across Africa demonstrate the potential of this winning formula.  For example, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a group of graduate youthful "agripreneurs" have channeled their skills, networks and capital to optimize the cassava value chain. By processing cassava, an indigenous, climate resilient crop, into flour, packaging & standardizing it for sell to higher value markets, the youth generate up to $4,000 as weekly income, translating to $16,000 monthly and $196,000 annual income. And in turn incentivize its production which then expands climate adaptation of DRC agriculture given the crop is drought resistant. 

For impactful progress, the urgent next step is the imperative to upscale innovative volunteerism to drive Climate Action for wealth creation.

Debate questions

  • -In your opinion, what complementary sectors are needed to actualize sustainable agro-industrialization powered by clean energy in Africa and how can Innovative Voluntary actions drive this?
  • -Do African countries have adequate technological, technical and human capacity to actualize these sustainable agro-industrial zones? What measures will be needed to mobilize this capacity and how can Innovative Voluntary actions drive this
  • -What enabling policies will be needed to actualize these sustainable agro-industrial zones and how can Innovative Voluntary actions drive this?
  • -In following the example of the DRC youth, how can other youth across Africa come together and complement their relative skills towards creating income opportunities in the catalytic agro-value addition, hence operationalize innovative volunteerism? 
  • -What key capacities can Africa’s youth contribute towards actualizing these sustainable agro-industrial zones?
  • -In your opinion, what could be holding back the participation of Africa’s youth in innovative volunteerism?
  • -What incentives are needed to incentivize Africa’s youth towards innovative volunteerism?
  • -What role can governments, private sector & development partners play to incentivize Africa’s youth towards innovative volunteerism?
  • - What do you think needs to be done to ensure Innovative Volunteerism becomes the common denominator in driving Africa’s development?

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