Africa may be known for many not so nice things, but there is one thing you can never take away from her – Africa is home to some of the most dynamic and industrious people on planet Earth. Creativity and innovative thinking come naturally to us.

There is a theory that I subscribe to which says, “The myriads of problems facing an average African can turn anyone into a genius in the game of survival” and believe me, as we jokingly say here, “that if you visit any part of the world and cannot locate any African there, better leave that place as it may not be suitable for human existence.”  

Bursting with an abundance of natural and mineral resources below our feet and the largely untapped creative and entrepreneurial energy of the average African, it will be okay to say that Africa is GOOD TO GO right?

Wrong, as a matter of fact, the opposite is our current and unfortunate reality. The Achilles heel of Africa is LEADERSHIP. It has always been leadership, thus the future of young Africans continues to hang in the balance, dangling in truly terrifying manner. For instance, we had to cancel certain aspects (Road walk exercise for fitness and tree planting exercise) of our #KNOWYOURGOALS campaign largely because of youth restiveness and high level of insecurity in the Niger Delta region, Nigeria, West Africa.

Up till 2015 which saw the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), you may be right to say that the future of young Africans remains at the mercy of the largely unpredictable and unstable leadership in most parts of Africa for direction and development.

Just to draw our attention to one common trait amongst African youths, we are hyper, energetic, resilient and brainy people, with the right direction we will always find a way, trust me when I say we will find a way. Some outstanding examples the world can relate to - Nollywood (One of the largest indigenous movie industry in the world), Nigerian music industry and Nigerian stand-up comedy industry. These economic sectors grew over the years without the significant inputs and participation of our governments.

So when I saw the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for what they truly are, one thing was certain in my mind, help every African youth to discover, understand, harness and maximize the power in the Sustainable Development Goals going forward.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the NEW HOPE FOR AFRICA. In reality, our future as young Africans cannot be guaranteed anymore by the multitude of failed promises which has become the trademark of African leaders.

I believe the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is not a promise but a ticket for young people in our present world especially in Africa to participate in the shaping our shared destiny through sustainable development in all spheres of human existence as succinctly captured in the seventeen (17) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Nothing offers a more compelling evidence for this line of thought that the leadership of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Networks (UN-SDSN) Youth. A team of young people galvanizing the world best minds from every corner of the earth to make a future one that our children can be proud of and thank us for.

Indeed, there is transformative power in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), I have seen it first hand, especially in the way it has activated, sparked up creative energies and resilience in the young people have had the honor to work within the past one year even when they had to work voluntarily.

Together, we produced a theme song for the Sustainable Development Goals titled SDGs – Hope for All and are looking forward to creating a video for it this year. As the year ran out we worked against all odds – financial constraints, unsupportive sponsors, and insecurity to pull together the first ever family carnival in Delta State’s most popular community called Bendel Estate – a community with over 500 households.

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Our goal is simple - Help every young person in Africa, see, appreciate and maximize the transformative power in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), because in it lies “THE NEW HOPE FOR AFRICA”

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 #KnowYourGoals event at DDPA Bendel Estate, Effurun, Delta State

#KnowYourGoals event at DDPA Bendel Estate, Effurun, Delta State

 
 
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Ortega Okolo is a sustainable development consultant from Nigeria, West Africa with an uncommon passion to support and work with young people secure decent work. With his acceptance on the partnership exchange managed by the Division of Sustainable Development – Department of Economic and Social Affairs in 2016, he created a new and daring target for himself – support and work with ten million (10,000,000) young Africans secure decent employment by 2030.

He is a passionate believer in the transformative power in the Sustainable Development Goals and is poised to spread the knowledge and experience of this power across Africa in a bid to pursue his passion. His work with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has led to the creation of Women for SDGs (A Public Awareness platform established to spread the word about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the current membership of over 3, 000 women across 12 African countries.

He led the effort of the Women for SDGs Choir to create a Theme song for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) titled: SDGs – Hope for All and also masterminded the BENDEL ESTATE PEACE CARNIVAL, as part of the #KNOWYOURGOALS campaign.

Working with his team, he has embarked on a tour of primary schools where he teaches children about the Sustainable Development Goals through music.