The beauty and wealth of Africa is phenomenal. Our land is not only rich in mineral resources but it is also blessed with abundant renewable natural resources ranging from forest and wildlife, water, sun, arable soil and wind.
Yet in the abundance of these resources, we are seen as that dark patch on the globe, not because of our predominant skin colour, but because we do not have enough electricity.
The cold hands of poverty, hunger and starvation are gripping many Africans tight. With shoulders high, the rate of unemployment is steadfastly on the ladder aiming for the top. Generally, the standards of living of many Africans are nothing to write home about.
Obviously this is a threat to the Africans Aspiration for 2063. Meanwhile, these renewable natural resources if rightly employed are essential tools for socio-economic, human and technological development.
Hence the question abounds: how can I promote the sustainable use of renewable natural resources for socio-economic transformation, if I were an African leader?
Well, great achievements are functions of calculated unit steps. However, this essay provides a step by step approach to how renewable natural resources can be sustained in Africa for greater productivity.
1. Let the People Get in line with the Vision
People cannot embrace what they do not know about. Renewable natural resources and its attendant technologies, its importance and potentialities of transforming the current Africa into the great Africa of our dreams, are still not known to many Africans.
So, the first step is to create an intensive awareness campaign about this veritable tool for socio-economic transformation, renewable natural resources. This will drive into the psychology of the people the beauty of this issue at hand.
For the urban dwellers, the conventional radio jingles, television shows and programmes and adverts on national dailies will go a long way to achieving this. There would also be periodical workshops and symposia on the subject.
A step further will be taken to fully incorporate the rural dwellers: series of grassroots meetings will be organized by the government in conjunction with the local chiefs and traditional rulers.
This co-operation is to make the people fall in. Media personnel and extension workers adequately trained in this subject will be able to carry out this duty of awareness creation.
Organizing accessible “clean and green environment” programmes like producing cooking gas from sewage waste, organic agriculture and so on will also help to sweep into the thinking and attitude of people the need to embrace this unavoidable advantage.
2. Invest in Manpower Development
It is a fact that one of the major challenges of technological development in Africa is lack of manpower. We still deeply depend on foreign experts for the installment and maintenance of the relatively little technology available in Africa.
Technologies in renewable natural resources are not left out. But it has come a time we became a man, and handle things ourselves, our way, the best way. However, the bulk stops on my table as an African leader to make sure we become this man.
Personnel and students will be trained in those countries which already have the technological know-how. Training institutes will also be set up at home, where younger ones, the lifeline of the society will be trained. Yes. For sustainability, the young ones should be incorporated fulltime.
Consequently, this will help to reduce the cost of renewable resource services. It will also offer employment to all those in the service chain.
3. Set Achievable Policies
Having sintered the people and the importance and technologies of renewable natural resources, the ground is set for policy formulation.
These policies will serve as principal guide for the production, trade, distribution and conservation of the renewable resources. Since the market barely exists now, these policies will create and maintain a market for it.
As far as we want to sustain the use of renewable resources, there is need to place heavy hands on the use of non-renewable ones. By so doing, the market is created.
There would also be policies that would cutout legislative and commercial barriers, for easier entry into the renewable resources market.
Again, these policies will be people-driven. I believe policies fail because they are either made by legislators who know little or nothing about the issues of discuss or by consultants whose personal takes fail to come in.
It is pertinent however to engage the wider civil society in policy making, so as to get a broader view of the needs of the people.
Functional policies will help create healthy market for investors, both local and foreign to come in.
4. Dissipate the Role of Development into People
The need to hinge this project on the people is inestimable. And maybe it is time we stopped concentrating power on one or few bodies in terms of energy generation and resource management, but dissipate it into local communities and states.
Local communities will be granted resources sovereignty to enable them have full control over their resources and its management.
This will encourage a hardworking spirit; it will grant better security as every community takes responsibility.
It will also encourage equitable resources dissemination; there will be greater productivity since every state is aiming to meet their own demands.
Thus my government will see to the success of this in terms of financing it and making sure the people in-charge is properly checked.
The African society is a low-income status one. The relatively high cost of renewable resource facilities presents a barrier for the entry of many Africans.
My government will tackle this in two ways: creation of informal market where citizens purchase these facilities and their payment is spread over a period of time.
The subsidization of the price of these facilities by the government. At this point, many who saw no reason earlier will see reasons to join the trend.
5. Create Arms to Supervise the Projects
Lastly, there is need to create special agencies or ministries that will be charged with the duty of promoting the use of renewable resources technologies.
These agencies will see to the implementation of the government’s renewable resources policies.
Well structured and mandated as they will be, they will work keenly with private sector and other necessary bodies, to ensure the full actualization of government’s plan.
The journey will not be an easy one. But at the end of every tunnel is light. The joy comes from the hope that Africa has what it takes to make a leap out of her present situation.
In the forest and wildlife lie tourism and food. In the sun, water and wind are energy and food as well.
In all these lie employment, healthier lifestyle, booming economy and a great Africa of our dreams. But we need to do something to be where we want:
- Incorporate people’s consciousness through awareness campaigns.
- Train African personnel and formulate workable policies.
- Grant local communities resources sovereignty.
- Make the renewable natural resource facilities affordable to common Africans and finally.
- Create well structured and mandated agencies to man the government plans