–Environmentalist Tells Students
The Program Officer for Multilateral Environmental Agreements at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Liberia, Arthur R. M. Becker has told a gathering of students that transformation through harnessing the power of energy is critical solution to promoting innovations that would drive socio-economic development in Liberia.
Mr. Becker said energy would ignite a generation of global change makers, promote the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development and ensure the attainment of the UN sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Liberia.
Serving as keynote speaker at the launch of the 2018 Hult Prize Entrepreneurship Initiative at Stella Maris Polytechnic on Capitol Hill, Mr. Becker noted that energy is the lifeblood of human society.
“By creatively harnessing energy we can transform it into clean water, food, jobs, and connectivity,” Becker explained.
According to him, Liberia has enough latent capacity for energy innovation to shift the trajectory of national development as enshrined in the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, as well as the United Nations SDGs.
He indicated that the country needs no disruption that taps into those energy innovations to accomplish a second transformation: the transformation of lives.
Becker asked the audience to let the 2018 Hult Prize launch be an invitation that will surely encourage youth, students, and student teams in Liberia to find and develop energy innovations that can be scaled to improve the lives of thousands of poor people across the length and breadth of Liberia’s 15 political sub-divisions.
“Let power generation be done through smart innovations that are increasingly scalable to ensure that energy efficiency is attained as enshrined in the UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy),” the environmentalist cautioned.
Speaking further, Becker explained that when he was at his prime in youth and student activism and even up till now, has asked some critical questions including why some nations are rich and some are poor?
He has also asked why individuals that grow up in similar circumstances end up differently, with some as successes and others as failures.
“After an introspective mind searching, my conviction in regards to these questions is that wealth is a creation of the human mind properly prepared by education,” he told the students.
The EPA Project Officer indicated that it is his belief that any nation including Liberia that does not spend its wealth and resources to developing the capacity of its youth will eventually be forced to devote its resources to fight insecurity amongst those same youths.
“As a youth leader, environmentalist, and climate change negotiator, you can decide through effective policies and practical interventions to educate the youths, or face the consequences of failing to do so,” Becker said. He also further stated “The problem all African leaders have is how to manage the youth bulge. Do we consider this a ticking time bomb or an opportunity?”
To convert the perceived time bomb to opportunity, Becker suggested that government invest its resources providing the requisite education and capacity building to young people.
This, according to him must be followed by enabling youth entrepreneurship as in the case of the Hult Prize entrepreneurial interventions.