Global Entrepreneurship Event: Carbon Colonialism in Africa and SDG One.

By – Hon. Minister Ebube Ebisike George

There remains a renewed scramble for Africa with her forests being sold off in deals closed in 2023 to a little known UAE based company called Blue Carbon owned by Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook al-Maktoum. 

African states are home to lush wildlife havens as well as host large biodiversity expanses still pristine. These lands sealed in a 30 year deal represent billions of dollars in potential Carbon offsetting revenue. 

In specific terms this takeover of vast terra firma covers a fifth of Zimbabwe, 10% of Liberia, 10% of Zambia and 8% of Tanzania, amounting to 25 million hectares of land which is about the size of the UK. Millions of hectares of forest in Kenya is also included in this deal. 

The company said it was also working on an agreement with Pakistan as well. 

When companies like Blue Carbon pursue their carbon credit and balance sheet targets in Africa, it leaves the local population who etches out an existence and earns a living from subsistence in this space native to them displaced, entrepreneurially bereft and economically disenfranchised. 

This is especially because the consent of these Africans plebeians has not been factored into this eco-globalisation scheme which in essence is more hostile than benign. The continuous negative mortgaging of the resources which should spur dividends of small entrepreneurial blossom for the ordinary African citizenry cannot continue to be handed to the West without interrogating the realities of such action by African leaders. 

The race to achieve net zero status and carbon productivity for richer countries and their corporate organisations to the detriment of the developing countries is giving rise to a debacle of immense proportions for global wealth redistribution as it entrenches poverty, trade imbalances and deindustrialization of the developing nations without achieving the economic and environmental balancing acts sought after by the comity of nations at previous COP gatherings. The WEF has not been much of a gathering for the developmental considerations for African interests.

Studies show that increasing the pace of carbon productivity growth is key to improving economic growth. The sum of the rate of decrease in energy consumption intensity and the rate of decline in the average energy carbon emission factor is generally equal to the rate of increase in carbon productivity. 

Carbon productivity measures the return on carbon employed in making materials and products. Improving carbon productivity means generating more value from less fossil fuel carbon. Businesses that are prepared to improve carbon productivity stand to win decisive competitive advantage. Africa without a doubt must pursue vigorously a carbon productivity action plan across the public and private sector, her manufacturing protocols and in a synergy that must seek to achieve a great leap forward.

The above consequently must enable homegrown innovation through R&D and where possible lead to disruption. This will drive the wheels of her industrial revolution with climate sensitivity in mind. The current challenges in Africa of insecurity due to terrorism, lack of an enabling environment for cottage industrial growth, xenophobia, access to credit and impact investment in businesses, inflow of FDI and technology transfer, energy poverty, lack of food sovereignty, uncontrolled psychological operations orchestrated against her citizens by the traditional media and social media platforms, as also bad governance which has aided the ongoing brain-drain across the continent, especially ongoing in Nigeria.

Prime Minister SOAD – His Excellency Dr. Louis-Georges Tin

The above must become a cardinal focus for Government policy within the countries, at the AU and the regional bodies, free from foreign interests and in line with complimenting the tasking contributions of the sixth (6th) region of Africa – the Diaspora and through work being done by the State Of The African Diaspora (SOAD) Government under the leadership of the Prime Minister His Excellency, Dr. Louis-Georges Tin. 

The need for an entrepreneurial growth trajectory and inter trade on the continent operating within the protocol of the Africa Free Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is key, as also institutionalizing a borderless and more integrated Africa using a common passport or visa-less entry for all Africans across the 54 countries and adopting one currency, maybe the “Lumi”, will boost new enterprises, industrial productivity, advancement and modernisation.

This is where the hosting of the Global Entrepreneurship Festival (GEF) in Nigeria from November 11th to 13th, 2024 plays a remarkably unquantifiable role for the African continent’s awakening.

GEF is described by her founder(s) as an envisioned platform and global cornerstone event that celebrates and catalyses entrepreneurship by inviting business leaders, innovators, creators, policymakers and the global community to engage in much needed meaningful exchanges that will reshape the future of the Global Enterprise space. The GEF is recorded as the biggest entrepreneurship event in the World with 12 events holding simultaneously from; Conferences, Tradefairs, Bootcamps, Businesspitch, Networking & Collaboration, Hackathon, Fashion show, Art & Creative exhibitions, to Innovation and Robotics expo, Leadership forum, Women’s congress and Concert. All of these event subsets are tailored to address different facets of the entrepreneurship paradigm. 

GEF is renowned for it’s calling on the global community to take action by lending their voices and action to expedite achieving “NO Poverty” in line with the SDG Goal1. This converge will be a festival hosted at the Entrepreneurship Village also called Africa’s Silicon Valley in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria during the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). 

The experience of the GEF/GEW offers an eye opener which illuminates across the context of the people and activities that will be on showcase. The event gives dimensions of the entrepreneurial ecosystem which are made up of marketing, finance, human resources, infrastructure, industrial relations, learning, support, government role, social networking, and mentorship.

 Furthermore, knowledge of the entrepreneurial ecosystem which is a reference to the interconnected network of various elements, including individuals, institutions, organizations, policies, and resources that form a nexus collectively supporting and fostering entrepreneurship in a specific geographical region will be shared to enlighten on what is obtainable across countries where an entrepreneur seeks to excel whilst overcoming the hurdles endemic to that destination and expanding the operations of one’s business from one country to the other. 

To site Africa’s most populated country for context, the Nigerian entrepreneurial ecosystem consists of seven components, with various key players and various programmes and initiatives. And these components can be broken down into: policy and regulation, access to finance, capacity building, access to markets, access to resources, business support and research and development. 

For reference, the pace of entrepreneurial growth across all sectors in China’s under their Communist doctrine of the great leap forward since Deng Xiaoping has become the ninth wonder of the world. China’s pacing to catch up with the collective Western hegemonic structure(s) of sociopolitical and economic frameworks established post WW2 have indefatigably broken the globally accepted norms of “Unipolarity”. 

Today a Multipolar world of dedollarisation, new trade opportunities and mechanisms occasioned by China’s partnership with Russia and other countries on the BRICS platform has become the alternative World order. But then according to the CEOWORLD magazine Entrepreneurship Index for 2024, the United States has remained but not for long as the world’s most entrepreneurial country. Germany and the United Kingdom/EU are close in ranking as well. 

The GEF will expand on the need to observe, analyse and visualise the entrepreneurial ecosystem, in other words this refers to the entrepreneurs’ environment which includes the surrounding institutions, actors and prevailing culture – this is a process termed as “mapping”. It is not contestable that the mapping of the entrepreneurial ecosystem enables the exploration and identification of gaps and constraints as well as it aids to facilitate decision making and measures that are very pertinent to improve the entrepreneurial environment so to take on the competitive space in one given form or another. Mapping offers a practical and pragmatic approach that can deliver results in the short to long term period, as the data gleaned can be used to develop effective interventions designed to stimulate innovation and cause disruption of the marketplace. Following from the above, an entrepreneurial ecosystem consists of three elements which are: the business environment and investment climate; the actors that are interacting with one another and an entrepreneurial culture and attitude towards entrepreneurial activity. Africa’s Government policy frontiership needs to stimulate her citizen’s thirst to enter the entrepreneurial ecosystem more vigorously, by ensuring a better “Ease of doing business” climate to unlock new production ideas, creating jobs, developing  new product and service lines as well as driving a lasting collaboration with Government in PPP sysytems for more sustainable growth in terms of tax earnings, building of new unicorns, infrastructure and holistic wealth redistribution. Recently Malaysia based SustNET run by Dr. Norsaidatul Akmar Mazelanas Secretary General and Think Plus Academy have established a strong collaboration focused on fostering a culture of entrepreneurship through the R.A.F.I.D.A.H. School of Entrepreneurship and have sort the partnership of the State of the African Diaspora (SOAD) to establish a presence in Africa. The SOAD University project is also in the works.The R.A.F.I.D.A.H. School of Entrepreneurship innovative program offers aspiring entrepreneurs real-world learning experiences with established 

and successful business leaders.

Jeff Hoffman will be a Keynote Speaker at the Global Entrepreneurship Festival. He is the Chairman of the Global Entrepreneurship Network, the organization that convenes the Global Entrepreneurship Week annually. And the event subsets collectively experienced at the festival speak to stimulating a new culture in the developmental mindset of the global citizen and community. It is geared to quicken their spirit and action plans to work tirelessly, whilst innovatively adding value and reaching out to make a lasting impact individually and collaboratively for humanity’s profitability and providence. With the tireless work of Dr. Joy S. Francis and team some of the confirmed and proposed speakers include; former President Barack Obama, Prime Minister SOAD; Dr. Louis-Georges Tin, former UK First Lady Cherie Blair, Reebok founder: Joseph William Foster, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala – DG of the WTO, Jeff Hoffman, Dr. Rabbi Elie Abbadie, Dr. Christina Rahm, Marc Randolph,

Sir. Prof. Gabriel P Andreoli, Dr. Michael Tjalve, Sir.Robert Grant, Ibukun Awosika, Prof. Lawrence Krauss, Vusi Thembekwayo, Dr. Mart McCllean, H.E Mark Lindsay, Ian Dunlap, Olakunle Soriyan, and other distinguished speakers and business leaders from across the world.

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