Executive Mayor of Vhembe District Municipality, Cllr Florence Radzilani. Photo by Zwavhudi Tshisudzungwane.

By: Zwavhudi Tshisudzungwane

The Universal Greening Organisation (UGO) in partnership with Tshikovha Graduates and the University of Venda (Univen) hosted the 3rd Annual Green Economy Conference last Tuesday at the Porche-Villa Hotel and Conference Centre, Muledane outside Thohoyandou.

The conference was held under the theme ‘Business Opportunities in the Bioprospecting and Wildlife Economy’.

Bioprospecting and wildlife economy is growing rapidly, hence UGO saw a need to raise awareness about it.

In the formal sector of bioprospecting, black participation is very low and in the informal sector of bioprospecting, the traditional medicine market is dominated mostly by blacks.

In wildlife economy, only 2.5% are blacks and the remaining 97.5% is occupied by whites. This means that, there is a great opportunity for emerging young enviropreneurs to participate in this sector.

The conference is used as a tool to facilitate the creation of an enabling environment for students and community members to access the job market and entrepreneurship.

“Our main focus must be to empower and encourage more women and young entrepreneurs to recognise the existing potential in order to exploit it to the fullest,” said the Executive Mayor of Vhembe District Municipality, Cllr Florence Radzilani.

The mayor said the conference holds possibilities of boosting the entrepreneurship potential amongst the youth in the district.

“We need home grown alternative solutions to the current challenges of healthcare, energy, food security, agriculture, water shortages and sanitation,” the mayor added.

The mayor reiterated that the green economy is the future economy. “It must help us to achieve sustainable development as envisaged in the
National Development Plan,” the mayor reiterated.

“It must help us reduce poverty, skill young people to create their own jobs and generate much needed employment. It must protect our natural ecosystems against degradation whilst maximising tourism benefits. It must mitigate the negative effects of climate change by reducing the carbon footprint through cleaner and greener energy and technology.”

Mr Lindelani Maraganedzha, Executive Secretary of UGO, said the purpose of the conference was to offer people an opportunity to get knowledge from the experts about bioprospecting.

The conference was well-attended.