Young Africans create green businesses.


The youth are the driving force for action on climate and the environment. That was the message hammered home to delegates at Africa Climate Week in March 2019, the first of three annual regional climate events ahead of the United Nations Secretary-General's Climate Action Summit to be held in September this year.

Africa Climate Week was held in Accra, Ghana, and organized by the government of Ghana and partner organisations, including the Nairobi Framework Partnership, which supports developing countries in preparing and implementing their plans to address climate change.

During the week, young local climate activists displayed colourful placards that read 'Zero waste is sexy, Act now' and 'Plastic or Paper = Tree cutting, Act now,' among other slogans.

Many of these young Africans, who participated in the Africa Climate Week, have been launching start-ups that address climate change, protect the environment and provide jobs.

Some of the innovative businesses showcased during the conference include a bamboo bike initiative that taps into the ecological potential of bamboo trees, a plastic recycling company, and a project that recycles used tires and denim, turning waste into shoes while at the same time combating environmental degradation. Below are some of the innovative businesses:

Koliko Wear: from used fabrics to high-fashion footwear

He had been helping a friend to turn around his shoemaking business before he delved into eco-fashion, manufacturing shoes from used materials.

'I am a banker by profession, but now I'm a shoemaker. I use recycled materials to make shoes,' Peter Kweku Anowie told Africa Renewal.

Mr. Anowie's Koliko Wear enterprise makes shoes out of used jeans, furniture woolens, bedsheets, jute sacks, and rubber from used car tires.

For him the transition from banking to entrepreneurship happened by chance. He said, 'I am from Takoradi, in western Ghana. One day I chanced upon a shoemaker friend whose business was collapsing. I told him I could assist by investing some small capital in his business, so that he can continue to operate.'

Later, realizing shoemaking could be profitable, Mr. Anowie decided to go all in. 'I saw that it was a cool and creative business, and I just resigned from my banking job to get involved in the shoemaking business fulltime. I am a business administration student and I majored in banking finance, so I have some knowledge of business.'

Mr. Anowie also wanted to establish something that could...

To continue reading