The Awards aspect of the Event is planned to honour companies, enterprises, organizations, institutions and individuals who have contributed, and continue to contribute, efforts towards the environmentally sustainable development of the country in various ways in energy, waste management, sanitation, water conservation, forestry conservation, biodiversity conservation, land conservation, agriculture/aquaculture, industry, commerce etc.

The Expo aspect of the Event will enable outstanding achievers in these sectors to showcase their products, services and initiatives to Ghanaian and world-wide audience, interact and network with their counterparts all over the world, open up new investment opportunities and expand existing ones in Ghana and in the international community.

The Event will provide opportunities for the unleashing of the country’s tremendous potentials in the “green” (i.e. environmentally sustainable) areas of the afore-named sectors and provide avenues for placing these on the fore-front of Ghana’s development agenda. Due to limitations of space and time, this discourse will only focus on just a few of the above sectors namely; energy, agriculture and forestry.

It is even an understatement to say that the “green” potentials in the various sectors are simply tremendous, because currently, the “green” energy business alone world-wide is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. This fact is illustrated by available information that in the year 2015 alone, more than 186 gigawatt-hours (186,000,000,000 watt-hours) of installed “green” electric energy capacity was added to the global energy mix. This phenomenal addition of “green” energy is still on the increase. Ghana is yet to take its berth on this fast moving energy platform, a situation which indicates that almost boundless opportunities exist for investors, entrepreneurs and individuals in the country in the “green” energy business.

Furthermore, it estimated that more than 3,000 megawatts of “green” electric power can be obtained from the municipal waste systems currently generated daily in Ghana by the use of appropriate waste-to-energy technologies. This quantity of power can be amplified by yearly incremental additions of at least 10%, i.e 300 MW to yield a total of 4,500 MW over the next 5 years. Other “green” energy systems such as solar, wind, mini-hydro etc can add further considerable amounts of electric power to Ghana’s power mix.

Ghana currently has serious energy deficit with no buffer stock whatsoever, on account of which the country experiences periodic electric power rationing. The electric power rationing will not fade away until this energy deficiency is bridged sustainably. Determined efforts to tap the “green” energy potential as illustrated above will provide a versatile avenue to bridge this energy deficiency, and power the country’s development drive.

Organic agriculture is another aspect of “green” activities worthy of mention. Organic agriculture is also at present worth billions of dollars annually. In many countries, organic products are valued far higher than non-organic types and are in ever ascending demand. Organic agriculture produces safe products conducive to human and animal health. The use of organic input such as organic fertilizer also provides long term benefits for soil and environment.

It is a well-established fact that Ghana loses about 80,000 to 100,000 hectares of its forests annually to deforestation arising from man-made activities such as logging of wood, improper farming habits, bush fires etc, as well as from various natural phenomena. Ghana’s forests which stood at about 10 million hectares at the beginning of the 20th century now stand at less than 1.5 million hectares. The loss of the rest of the forest reserves will have devastating consequences for the country and world environment generally. Forests help to absorb carbon dioxide which causes global warming and climate change. Forests also help to maintain weather stability, help to produce rainfall and also help with soil fertility and productivity, in addition to being the bastion of most of global food and livestock production. It is important to reverse the loss of forest reserves in Ghana and all efforts must be on deck to promote massive forestation and re-forestation in Ghana.

The foregoing discussion brings to the fore the need to honour and showcase all individuals, organizations, institutions, companies etc that show demonstrable achievements in the “green” areas of activity including, but not limited to, those mentioned above.

It is expected that by such honours, the GH Green Awards & Expo will encourage these entities to scale up and intensify their monumental efforts as well as motivate others to emulate the examples of the front-runners for the benefit of the environment for present and future generations. It is also expected that the Event will open up new investment opportunities to Ghanaians in the “green” development arena and prime the country’s sustainable development in ways hitherto unknown.

By Prof. T. A. Coleman


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