Africa has been making headlines recently for its impressive efforts toward sustainability. From renewable energy projects to reforestation efforts, countries across the continent are stepping up to create a more sustainable future for their citizens. The newest development in Africa’s sustainability journey is the Ibadan Business school in Nigeria. The school is set to become the first training and development institute to embrace green strategies, innovations, and technologies in Africa. As the first training institute in Africa to embrace sustainability, IBS is not just adding to the continent’s trail of half-motivated projects on sustainability, they are actually empowering the future leaders to take action toward a greener continent. But why is sustainability so important for Africa, and how can education help implement sustainable policies and efforts?

The answer is simple. Sustainability is crucial for Africa because it’s home to some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. These communities are disproportionately affected by the negative impacts of climate change, such as droughts, floods, and food shortages. Countries like Kenya have become dumping grounds for 37 million items of plastic clothing annually. But it’s not just the environmental harm it brings. In South Africa, the persistent power crisis has taken a significant toll on the country’s economic growth and stability. Recent estimates of the daily cost of load shedding, a common practice of scheduled power outages, amount to a staggering $51 million, draining the country’s GDP. By adopting sustainable practices, African countries can reduce their carbon footprint, improve their resilience to climate change, and create a better future for their citizens.

The good news is that African countries are aware of this and are already taking significant steps toward sustainability. A good example is the Noor Ouarzazate solar complex in Morocco, one of the world’s largest concentrated solar power plants. The project generates electricity using solar energy and has the potential to supply power to 1.1 million people. By investing in renewable energy, the country reduces its dependence on fossil fuels, which is not only better for the environment but also cheaper in the long run. But not all of Africa’s green initiatives have been successful. In 2007, the African Union started a program to plant millions of trees on the continent, It was called the great wall initiative. The aim was to restore degraded land across the Sahel region of Africa by planting a wall of trees from Senegal to Djibouti. The initiative was meant to not only mitigate the effects of climate change but also create job opportunities for local communities and boost food security. Over a decade and a half, since it began, the project has failed to make significant progress. According to a Bloomberg report, the Great Green Wall has only achieved about 20% of its target. 

Education plays a crucial role in Africa’s sustainability journey. It’s not just about inspiring future leaders who would actively carry on sustainable projects and policies but it is also a powerful tool to raise awareness about sustainability, develop skills and knowledge, and enable regular individuals actively participate in the decision-making processes that affect their lives. For example, training programs in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and natural resource management can equip individuals with the skills needed to work in these sectors, create jobs and reduce poverty. What’s more, education can help promote a culture of sustainability by raising awareness about the benefits of sustainable living. By incorporating sustainability into their schools’ curriculum, students can learn about the environmental, social, and economic benefits of sustainable practices. They equally learn how to apply these practices in their daily lives and become advocates for sustainability in their communities.

This is why IBS’s green initiative is quite significant. As an international learning institution in Nigeria, IBS has a unique focus on both the public sector and micro small, and medium enterprises. They already have a record of providing qualitative, impactful human capital-building and consultancy services to international and multilateral agencies. The school’s decision to embrace green strategies, innovations, and technologies, is not only a precedent on how education helps implement sustainability policies, it sets an example for other institutions to follow. As Africa continues making slow but steady strides toward sustainability, investing in education and promoting a culture of sustainability, can create leaders who will carry the future sustainable development in Africa.

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