Youth leading the charge: African innovations driving climate action showcased at Africa Climate Summit

Youth leading the charge: African innovations driving climate action showcased at Africa Climate Summit

#climate and sustainability
The Africa Climate Innovation Challenge, a climate-focused pitching competition, showcases youth-led solutions driving climate action in Africa. These innovations demonstrate that African youth are not only advocating for change but also creating innovative solutions to combat climate change.

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In recent years, calls for climate action in Africa have surged, targeting a burgeoning youth population of over 400 million young people aged between 15 and 35.

A youth conference preceding the ongoing Africa Climate Summit—the Africa Youth Climate Assembly—brought together young leaders who not only exchanged ideas but also showcased innovative solutions in the global battle against climate change, including the winners of the Africa Climate Innovation Challenge.

The challenge launched in March 2023, seeking teams of 2 to 6 young individuals of African descent, whose companies and innovations were making a tangible difference within the continent's communities.

5 winners from Ghana to Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda were awarded for meeting these requirements. These are the finalists whose innovations and solutions are driving climate action across a range of sectors:

Tyndall Credits - Nigeria

The Nigerian enterprise drives community engagement through traceability and outcome alignment for climate-smart projects. Using digital tech, they employ AI and IoT for carbon footprint tracking. 

According to co-founder Odo-Promise Chikadibe, “This approach combats greenwashing by accurately monitoring and measuring carbon emissions reduction in specific climate-smart projects.”

Tyndall's systems oversee emissions from clean cookstoves, afforestation, Agroforestry, livestock, and renewable energy projects.

With the voluntary carbon market surging in value, from US $500 million in 2020 to US $1.9 billion by the end of 2021, Tyndall Credits is seizing opportunities. They received a US $3,000 award for their idea, placing 5th in the challenge.

Theseus Development - Ghana

Based in Ghana, Theseus Development, a youth-led enterprise, is transforming the construction industry by replacing traditional concrete with geopolymer technology. 

Co-founder Evans Nartey highlights its uniqueness: geopolymer technology is not only more durable and sustainable but also more cost-effective than conventional concrete.

“Geopolymer concrete offers superior thermal insulation, leading to reduced energy consumption and lower heating/cooling costs in buildings,” he explained. 

Additionally, it slashes concrete production time by over 70% and decreases energy usage by 50%, resulting in a remarkable 90% reduction in emissions compared to traditional concrete.

This innovative approach taps into the burgeoning green concrete market, which is projected to reach $30.7 billion globally and US $56.6 million in Ghana in 2023. 

Theseus Development secured 4th place in the challenge and was awarded a prize of US $4,000 for their groundbreaking work.

Algas Company - Madagascar

Algas, a Madagascar-based company, pioneers seaweed farming for human consumption. Seaweed, with its impressive carbon sequestration potential surpassing that of forests, serves as a nutritious food alternative.

Situated strategically in the Indian Ocean, Madagascar provides Algas with a unique advantage. It positions the company for expansion into African inland markets and overseas, all while contributing to climate resilience within Africa's food systems.

Algas secured third place in the challenge, earning a US $5,000 award to develop their innovative concept.

Low Altitude Maglev - Ghana

Ghana's Maglev innovation harnesses wind energy to address energy poverty affecting nearly 650 million Africans. 

Their specialized wind turbines offer a cost-effective and highly efficient clean energy solution even in low altitudes. 

They were awarded US $8,000, which will fund the construction of two initial wind turbine models as they prepare for a larger rollout.

Asili Kwanza - Uganda

Uganda's Asili Kwanza offers safe, affordable, and sustainable cooking solutions. They recycle agricultural waste into Eco briquettes, which are 50% cheaper than alternatives like solar, gas, or electricity. 

Apart from environmental benefits, Asili is profitable, producing eco briquettes at US$0.22 per kilogram and selling at US $0.33, resulting in a 50% profit margin. 

With three years of experience, they recycle over 60,000 tons of agricultural waste, producing 3 tons of eco briquettes monthly. Their pitch earned them the top rank and a US$10,000 award for project expansion and business enhancement.

In addition to the financial rewards, the chosen ideas will embark on a rigorous three-month incubation program aimed at transforming concepts into actionable projects. 

Some of these promising projects will then have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to potential funders during the Africa Climate Summit.

As emphasized by Shaheen Nilofer, UNICEF Kenya representative, the true impact of these ideas will be realized when they progress beyond the ideation phase and into actual deployment. 

"The ideas confirm the unique assets that the youth is and reaffirm why investing in them will have a lasting impact for sustainability," she explained.

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