Pretoria - The Green Youth Network, in partnership with various stakeholders, is hosting its 7th annual indaba at the Innovation Hub in Pretoria.
The theme for the two-day event is “Climate Adaptation, Innovation and Sustainable Skills Development”.
It is intended for youth to participate in the green economy. The indaba focuses on which innovative career and entrepreneurship prospects are available in South Africa to enhance the skills shortage and explore innovative solutions.
It also wants to look at protecting the environment while bringing green economy skills, jobs and careers to the forefront of climate change adaptation.
The founder of the network, Sanele Zulu, said the event was about educating the youth in the opportunities within the green economy and how to access them.
“We are also talking about innovation among our youth. The green economy is the future economy. What we want is to inspire young people to get involved in the economy.
“There are a lot of issues surrounding climate change. We are saying if there are opportunities to solve climate change, let young people be the ones to lead the revolution.”
Zulu said they had programmes and pitchers (those that had innovative ideas) available, and had partnered with the Innovation Hub in Pretoria, which would incubate some of the winners in its programmes.
“It’s a full-year programme, and we also have mentorship as part of our programme,” he said.
Zulu said the winners would get a six-month mentorship programme from the Green Youth Network.
He said the speakers were decision makers and he challenged them to assist the youth in creating opportunities.
United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa, who was at the opening, said South Africa needed to create a fund dedicated to various sectors and not the National Youth Development Agency.
“All those in different sectors need to have access to that fund. We also need to look at the environment. There are many students studying horticulture as a subject. Those students could start their own business and sell plants.
“The issue of skills is another issue the youth need to look into. We are exporting raw materials to China for them to make solar panels and return them as a completed product. If we were to skill and upskill our young people, that would create a lot of employment.”
Chief executive at the Energy and Water Seta, Mpho Mookapele, said the event was a chance for the youth to participate in the country’s economy.
“The country stands in a better position to have young people who are innovators, not only for their community but the world as a whole. The world is hungry for innovation. I believe our country’s green economy has the ability to create opportunities for young people.
“Our mandate is to ensure that young people have the skills to be able to participate in the economy. The greatest thing is expecting the youth to participate but not to capacitate them.
“We also fund entrepreneurs and we incubate entrepreneurs. We also do research to see what entrepreneurs and SMMEs require to be successful.
“It is a great initiative to see the Green Youth Indaba bringing minds together, bringing dreamers together, and saying we can actually build together.”