Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, said that in order to address Africa’s widening energy gaps, cooperation is needed. The response also needs to be swift and urgent.
In his remarks at the global virtual launch of Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, a blueprint to address the twin issues of energy poverty and climate change, Prof. Osinbajo made this statement.
Speaking on the need for a peculiar transition plan, the Vice President said “for Africa, the problem of energy poverty is as important as our climate ambitions. Energy use is crucial for almost every conceivable aspect of development. Wealth, health, nutrition, water, infrastructure, education, and life expectancy are significantly related to the consumption of energy per capita.”
The vice president emphasized the sizeable amount of resources needed to realize both development and climate aspirations. To implement our Transition Plan by 2060, Nigeria will need to spend $410 billion more than what it currently spends, or around $10 billion annually.
“The average $3billion per year investments in renewable energy recorded for the whole of Africa between 2000 and 2020 will certainly not suffice,” he added.
The vice president also noted that “we have an inter-ministerial Energy Transition Implementation Working Group, which I chair. We are currently engaging with partners to secure an initial $10 billion support package ahead of COP27 along the lines of the South African Just Energy Transition Partnership announced at COP26 in Glasgow.”
Nigeria Country Director for World Bank, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, stated at the virtual event that the bank wants to “to commit over USD 1.5 billion towards the Energy Transition Plan on renewable energy, on power sector reforms, on clean cooking, and wherever opportunities arise.”
Following the same route, Mr. Adam Cortese, CEO, Sun Africa stated that “the launch of Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan has further accelerated our efforts, proving Nigeria to be fertile grounds for investments in the sector. We are in the final stages of discussion with US EXIM Bank on a USD 1.5 billion financing package.”
Prof Osinbajo Speaking on the effects of Climate Change in Africa explained that “climate change threatens crop productivity in regions that are already food insecure, and since agriculture provides the largest number of jobs, reduced crop productivity will worsen unemployment.
“It is certainly time for decisive action, and we just cannot afford to delay. African nations are rising to the challenge. All African countries have signed the Paris Agreement and some countries, South Africa, Sudan, Angola, and Nigeria have also announced net-zero targets.”
The VP explained the situation of energy poverty in Africa by pointing out that “the current lack of power hurts livelihoods and destroys the dreams of hundreds of millions of young people.
“And although Africa’s current unmet energy needs are huge, future demand will be even greater due to expanding populations, urbanization, and movement into the middle class.
“It is clear that the continent must address its energy constraints and would require external support and policy flexibility to deliver this. Unfortunately, in the wider responses to the climate crisis, we are not seeing careful consideration and acknowledgement of Africa’s aspirations.”
The Vice President then highlighted the significance of cooperation by pointing out that “we developed our Energy Transition Plan to engage with the rest of the world in a serious, thorough and data-backed manner.”
Prof. Osinbajo explained that “there is a clear need for African nations to engage more critically and vocally in conversations on our global climate future.
“More importantly, we need to take ownership of our transition pathways and design climate-sensitive strategies that address our growth objectives. This is what Nigeria has done with our Energy Transition Plan.”
The Vice President made reference to the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan, he said “the plan was designed to tackle climate change and deliver SDG7 by 2030 and net-zero by 2060, while centering the provision of energy for development, industrialization and economic growth.”
According to him, “we anchored the plan on key objectives including lifting 100 million people out of poverty in a decade, driving economic growth, bringing modern energy services to the full population and managing the expected long-term job losses in the oil sector due to global decarbonization.
“Given those objectives, the plan recognizes the role natural gas must play in the short term to facilitate the establishment of baseload energy capacity and address the nation’s clean cooking deficit in the form of LPG.
“The plan envisions vibrant industries powered by low-carbon technologies; streets lined with electric vehicles and livelihoods enabled by sufficient and clean energy.”
Regarding the roadmap’s other objectives, Prof. Osinbajo said that “the plan has the potential to create about 340,000 jobs by 2030, and 840,000 by 2060. It also presents a unique opportunity to deliver a true low-carbon and rapid development model in Africa’s largest economy.”
“We are currently implementing power sector initiatives and reforms focused on expanding our grid, increasing generation capacity, and deploying renewable energy to rural and underserved populations.”
The Vice President also disclosed the launch of the Universal Energy Facility in addition to the transition strategy. “an innovative, results-based, finance programme that focuses specifically on scaling up electricity access for productive uses.”
He explained that “the Universal Energy Facility will provide grant payments to enable solar companies to expand their operations to small and medium-sized enterprises across Nigeria, while crowding-in additional private capital.”
“Projects supported by the Universal Energy Facility will help grow businesses and create jobs, making them key contributors to our Energy Transition Plan.
“I’d like to encourage solar companies in attendance today to engage with this innovative financing opportunity, which is being managed by Sustainable Energy for All,” he added.
The event’s speakers praised Nigeria’s leadership and trailblazing role in the region and emphasized the need for data-driven country-level energy transition plans that recognize the distinctive pathways each country would need to take to achieve a just, inclusive, and equitable energy transition for everyone.
Speaking at the launch were several Nigerian ministers and officials, including Mr. Mohammed Abdullahi, the minister of the environment; Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, the minister of power; Mr. Babatunde Fashola, the minister of works and housing; Mrs. (Dr.) Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, budget, and national planning; and Engr. Ahmad Salihijo, the managing director of the Rural Electrification Agency.
In addition to them, speakers from the United Nations, Sustainable Energy for All, The World Bank, African Development Bank, IRENA, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet also spoke. Other speakers included the Minister of Petroleum and Energies from Senegal, Dr. Aissatou Sophie Gladima, and the Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy from Egypt, Prof. Dr. Mohamed Shaker El-Markabi.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity,
Office of the Vice President.
24th August, 2022