Africa’s Green Minerals’ future hinges on innovation, youth involvement- NGRI director


By Juliet ETEFE

Africa Director of the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NGRI), Nafi Chinery, has emphasised the pivotal role of Africa’s youth in shaping the continent’s green mineral resources’ future through innovation and active involvement.

Highlighting the urgent need for sustainable practices in natural resource management, she urged young Africans to harness their passion, energy, and innovative spirit to challenge the status quo.

“In a world where the transition to a green mineral economy is no longer a choice, but a necessity. Your ability to harness technology promotes renewable energy, and your ability to develop sustainable alternatives to traditional mining practices will be instrumental in shaping the future of Africa’s natural benefit.

“Whether it is through entrepreneurship, research, or advocacy, your creativity and ingenuity hold the key to unlocking a cleaner, more sustainable future for our continent. But let me be clear, and I think everyone mentioned this, the task ahead will not be easy,” she noted.

She was speaking on the first day of the three-day Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND), African Youth Conference (AYC) 2024 held in Accra.

The event convened young people making an impact in the natural resources and environmental sector from various African countries.

She made the call at the point where available data shows that though Africa stands as a reservoir of diverse and abundant natural resources, it is encountering significant hurdles in managing these resources sustainably.

The sustainability of resource use is threatened by illicit financial flows, illegal mining, logging, wildlife trade, unregulated fishing, and environmental degradation, resulting in an estimated annual loss of US$ 195 billion of natural capital.

As such, Ms. Chinery called on the youth to rise to the challenge, stressing the potential for collective action to drive meaningful change and build a future where Africa’s natural wealth benefits all its people.

“It also requires us to break the gap between rhetoric and reality, between aspirations and actions, and between the promise of a better tomorrow and the urgency of today.

As the youth of Africa, you have the power to be the changemakers, the trailblazers, and the champions of a just, equitable and sustainable future for all.  We need to rise to the challenge. Let us seize this moment as an opportunity to shift the destiny of our continent and safeguard the precious resources that have been entrusted to our care,” she charges.

Transparency and inclusivity

Ms. Chinery also underscored the significance of transparent governance and inclusive decision-making processes to ensure long-term sustainability and intergenerational equity.

She emphasized the importance of responsible leadership and the development of sustainable alternatives to traditional mining practices.

In a rallying call to action, she urged the youth to seize the moment and become champions of a future where Africa’s natural resources serve as a source of pride, prosperity, and progress for all its people.

AYC 2024

Commenting on she stated that: “We have had so many conferences, but this is different. This is about the youth. It is a beacon of hope. I see this as a platform for change.”

The three-day conference was held under the theme, “Amplifying Youth-led solutions on Climate and Environmental issues” and delved into the governance of Natural Resource and Environmental issues, challenges and solutions for the advancement of Africa as well as the pivotal role of young people in the governance of this sector.

The event provided a platform for young Africans to make their works seen and their voices heard, driving home the purpose of the youth as the backbone of every nation.

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