By Oke Peter
Ambitious.Africa supports and encourages young people in Africa and the Nordic countries to actively participate in working for a better future.
Wärtsilä’s commitment to supporting the well-being of society is again emphasised with its recent entry into a strategic partnership with Ambitious.Africa, a young initiative that aims to act as a bridge between Africa and the Nordic countries. Ambitious.Africa supports and encourages young people in Africa and the Nordic countries to actively participate in working for a better future. It aims to increase well-being in these countries by facilitating the sustainable development of local entrepreneurship.
The partnership between Wärtsilä and Ambitious.Africa is based on their mutual values and goals to support the youth of Africa and Europe in striving for a sustainable future. By working together, the partners can connect students, entrepreneurs, start-up companies, financiers, and various stakeholders from both continents to address common challenges through a novel approach aimed at empowering future generations. This collaboration further highlights the need for more cross-pollination of aims and dialogue between businesses and the communities they serve. Diversity and decentralisation are essential if full advantage is to be gained from the opportunities provided by the entire spectrum of fresh ideas and available talent.
Wärtsilä has a strong presence in Africa, and is well placed to encourage local youth to become involved in the company’s work to transition energy production towards a 100 percent renewables future. As a corporation with global and local perspectives, Wärtsilä’s intention is to engage fully with the societies in which it operates. This means going beyond merely encouraging local employment and supply contracts, so by aligning with Ambitious.Africa, the company can add initiatives aimed at providing the knowledge, skills, and training that will support these efforts.
“The challenges we face as a society, from education to income inequality, and civil rights to healthcare and climate change, are crying for novel ideas and solutions. As a company with a long history, both in Africa and the Nordics, we know the real benefit of joining forces across a broad spectrum of ideas and talent. Through our partnership with Ambitious Africa, we seek to engage student and entrepreneur communities to muster the true strength of a digitally native generation whose ideas are not limited by geography or politics. My hope is that we untap the magic of boundaryless creativity, and my dream is that many future leaders will rise through this partnership to change the world for the better” explained Björn Ullbro, Vice President, Africa & Europe at Wärtsilä Energy.
Vincent Forsman, co-founder of Ambitious.Africa, added: “We are not on pace to reach many critical Sustainable Development Goals with the speed at which they are needed – we need to be ready to experiment with new approaches and include youth in the development discourse. We believe that it takes connected ecosystems of Non-Governmental Organisations, start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises, and prominent corporations to solve the problems we are currently facing. From our perspective, Wärtsilä is an ideal partner providing invaluable opportunities, both for young people and the communities in which they live. Combining the experience and know-how that Wärtsilä has, with the passion and ambition of the youth in Ambitious.Africa, is something truly novel – and a significant step towards empowering youth to take a significant role in shaping a sustainable future, both for themselves and their communities.”
Focus of main projects in 2021 is on local communities and university students
In 2021, the partnership will undertake three main projects; two focusing on local communities in Morocco and Nigeria, while the third will involve students at African and Nordic universities. In Nigeria, Ambitious. Africa will be hosting a six-part webinar for Master-Degree students, to learn about various sustainability issues. They will also participate in an Ideathon that could lead to potential solutions for positive change. The programme will end with an on-site event at the University of Ibadan on 24 April, which will include presentations on sustainability developments by experts from Wärtsilä and other world-renowned organisations. The participants will also be invited to participate in a workshop on innovative new solutions to tackle issues raised during the programme.
In Morocco, Pitch it! will feature a competition where local entrepreneurs involved in agri-tech, green innovation and sustainability can pitch their ideas. Climate change threatens the African continent and the goal is to encourage young entrepreneurs to help solve emerging issues with new innovative solutions.