Mr. Sam Okudzeto-Ablakwa, Deputy Minister of Education, in-charge of Tertiary Education has challenged African students to support government’s effort with innovations and ideas to help deal with climate change and its implications.
According to him, students, who represent the intellectual wing of the African society, must contribute in addressing challenges of changes in climate pattern through research and papers to inform policy makers.
Speaking yesterday at the opening ceremony of the fifth Africa Students and Youth Summit, themed, “Climate change and implications for food security in Africa: Students’ and Youth response”, Mr. Okudzeto- Ablakwa called on students leaders to champion solutions, necessary to effectively mitigate the consequences of climate change.
Hosted in Accra and organised by the All Africa Student Union (AASU), the summit offered student leaders from member countries the platform to deliberate on ways to lessen the effect of climate change on food security and health.
The deputy minister noted that presently, the continent was experiencing the consequences of climate change adding that “farmers have experienced poor yields and children are faced with lack of food or malnutrition”.
That he said required a collaborated effort from governments, students as well as the populace to adapt a conservative approach in energy usage to protect the environment from further depletion.
On tertiary institutions in the country paying for utility usage, Mr. Okudzeto- Ablakwa noted that government would continue to bear the cost in the interim but was currently engaged in discussions with stakeholders on finding sustainable measures that would eradicate the problem.
He urged the students to rededicate their focus on the ideals and convictions of the founding fathers of AASU, to champion societal change and contribute to the development of the continent.
On his part, the Liberian Deputy Minister for Youth Development, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. Lance K. Gbagonyon, reiterated the need for young Africans to lead the food security initiative through employing acquired knowledge and modern technological know-how in both subsistence and commercial farming.
He said, food security as a problem, if not addressed, would result in extreme hunger and malnutrition, never recorded in human history as recent statistics have indicated.
Mr. Gbagonyon tasked the student leaders to develop a working document that would inform the decisions of policy makers in recommending solutions to climate change and effects.
Mr. Fred Awaah, Secretary General, AASU, said recent reports on food scarcity could significantly endanger the existence of life on the continent.
By Claude Nyarko Adams and Lisanne Dornoff