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Green economy growth is a silver lining for the planet and job-hungry South Africans

By Norman Cloete Time of article published Sep 12, 2021

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Johannesburg - Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a landmark report that painted a daunting picture for humanity. And in light of the latest figures from Stats SA, that South Africa has the world’s highest unemployment rate, incubating young entrepreneurs is more urgent than ever. The official unemployment rate among youth aged 15 to 34 was 46.3% in the first quarter of the year.

And what better way to turn these figures around than by looking to opportunities within the green economy? Mzansi's youth are fighting climate change through “green entrepreneurship”. But the unambiguous need to ramp up the green economy could provide a silver lining for both the planet and job-hungry South Africans: new employment opportunities that tackle both the crisis of climate issues and unemployment.

A campaign spearheaded by Primestars’ National Youth Green Entrepreneurship Programme aims to show the country’s school leavers what they can achieve just by looking around them. To help relay the message, Primestars is using the recently-released film, “Karabo’s Kitchen”, a comedy/drama which tells the story of how an environmentally-irresponsible person, down on her luck, used a veggie garden to turn her life around, became a green entrepreneur and a green ambassador.

Karabo’s Kitchen will be shown to learners across the country, and is the first step in Primestars’ four-part National Youth Green Entrepreneurship Programme which will later in the year include a National Youth Entrepreneurship Competition, a boot camp for finalists and culminates in the National Youth Entrepreneurship Awards.

“Climate change is happening now, and progressing at an alarming rate. We need to take urgent action. A critical contributor to confronting the issue is a robust drive to educate South African youth on the dangers of climate change, as well as the new job and entrepreneurship opportunities available in the green economy,” said Martin Sweet, MD of Primestars.

Since its inception in 2014, the programme has successfully used the unique cinema-education model to activate the culture and mindset of entrepreneurship in more than 80 000 high-school learners and 2 500 teachers from more than 1 000 under-resourced township schools across South Africa. Primestars GM, Nkosinathi Moshoana said this year’s programme aims to reach 12 000 Grade 10-12 learners from under-resourced communities, throughout the month of September, at various cinemas across the country.

“Young people in under-resourced communities have very little understanding of climate change. They don’t realise that they are not just job seekers but can also become job creators. But they are beginning to realise that the world they will inherit is eroding. We want to create awareness about climate change, we want young people to accept environmental responsibility and then they will identify job opportunities in the green economy,” said Moshoana.

Primestars partnered with the Department of Basic Education to bring about a change in youth thinking, from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

“We need to look after the earth. There can be no economy without mother earth. We need to think about our daily decisions and how those affect the environment. Also, people always assume school leavers cannot start a business. They can. Many young people also don’t know that support is available to them and we hope to change all that. The economy is not in a position to create jobs but the green economy is,” he said.

The programme will culminate in a 4-day boot camp at the end of the year from which the winners for the best ideas will be selected.

“We are expecting around 500 entries from high schools across the province. The best news is that each of the top 10 finalists will walk away with support, bursaries, funding and mentorship,” said Moshoana.

Organisers said, through the film, they hope the youth can learn from Karabo’s mistakes and challenges and can themselves become successful.

The Saturday Star

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