As 2021 gets underway, Hivos is embarking on a quest to provide green economic opportunities to more than 9,000 young North Africans by 2024. With an alliance of thirteen members, Hivos’ new GreenWorks program aims to mitigate the impact of climate change through job creation and economic empowerment across North Africa.
In North Africa, we see how the climate crisis is causing droughts and flooding, displacement and migration, amongst many other serious problems. It directly threatens the environment and, in some regions, people’s lives, and the crisis is expected to set economic development back many years. Realizing the important role a green economy can play in addressing the effects of climate change and mitigating its economic impact, governments in Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria have set ambitious targets for clean energy and waste management over the next decade.
Including social entrepreneurs
Hivos’ GreenWorks program contributes to these efforts in two ways. We support the inclusion of green social entrepreneurs, and we prepare a young, local workforce to enter the green job market.
The first approach is based on our mission to align local responses to climate change with development efforts that address poverty, unemployment and sustainability. We believe grassroots social entrepreneurs have an important role to play because they understand the needs of the communities they serve. Engaging them also ensures they play an active role and are represented in actions taken by the private sector and governments to advance the green economy.
The second approach is rooted in the conviction that preparing youth in underrepresented communities for the job market through vocational and soft skills – followed by job placements – will considerably reduce youth unemployment in the region.
The GreenWorks alliance
As our first move, Hivos put together an alliance of incubators, accelerators, think tanks and angel investment networks, amongst others. This alliance comprises clusters of like-minded partners that are ideally suited to support job creation in the region. And that move is already paying off, as we see inspiring examples of alliance members starting new partnerships with each other and with governments.
Alliance member ELIFE recently renewed its partnership with the Tunisian government. It now delivers twice as many digital training sessions to young people, preparing them for the job market across the north and central eastern part of the country.
Another powerful example is the collaboration between Impact Partner and Flat6Labs. These two Tunisian incubators have partnered to support startups across the country.
In Egypt, we have witnessed the beginnings of a partnership on yet another level. Clean Tech Arabia, one of Africa’s leading think tanks in the clean energy sector, has joined forces with incubator Nahdet El Mahroussa to scale up green economy projects.
The first incubator and private sector partnerships have started working to promote green economic job opportunities in Algeria.
These are just a few examples of the GreenWorks alliance’s initial work. You can follow our upcoming ventures on the Hivos MENA Facebook page.