Nigerian vice president Yemi Osinbajo makes case for decisive action on net zero and universal energy, launching major programmes that industry has been quick to support.
Nigeria’s vice president Yemi Osinbajo, has warned that Africa’s increasing energy gaps require collaboration to take ownership of the continent’s transition with decisive actions, as he launched his country’s plans to achieve net zero by 2060.
Professor Osinbajo explained: “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.”
Nigeria will need to spend $410bn above business-as-usual spending to deliver its transition plan by 2060, which equates to more than $10bn per year. That contrasts with the $3bn per year invested in renewable energy each year across the whole of Africa between 2000 and 2020.
Osibajo said: “We have an inter-ministerial energy transition implementation working group, which I chair. We are currently engaging with partners to secure an initial $10bn support package ahead of COP27 along the lines of the South African Just Energy Transition Partnership announced at COP26 in Glasgow.”
As part of efforts to secure funding, the World Bank and US Exim Bank are looking to invest $1.5bn each into Nigeria’s renewables sector.
“All African countries have signed the Paris Agreement and some countries, South Africa, Sudan, Angola, and Nigeria have also announced net-zero targets.” Yemi Osinbajo
Tackling climate change
Speaking on the effects of climate change in Africa, Osinbajo explained: “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.”
Nigeria and Africa have significant unmet energy needs, resulting in energy poverty and limited economic opportunities for young people. Those unmet needs are set to grow further as the country’s economy and population grow, and as urbanisation and a growing middle class change add to the need for electricity.
“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,” said Osinbajo.
“The launch of Nigeria’s energy transition plan has further accelerated our efforts, proving Nigeria to be fertile grounds for investments in the sector.”
r. Adam Cortese
The plan for Nigeria
The vice president set out the plan to tackle climate change and deliver SDG7 by 2030 – creating a platform to reach net-zero by 2060. This ambition will be centred on the provision of energy for development, industrialisation and economic growth.
In particular, the plan is anchored on key objectives that include raising 100 million people out of poverty over the coming decade, driving economic growth across the whole country, bringing modern energy and electricity services to the whole population and managing the expected long-term job losses that will result in the country’s oil sector as the world decarbonises.
To do that, natural gas will play a key role as a transition energy source. Osinbajo told a global audience at the launch: “Given our objectives, the plan recognises 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.”
Practical outcomes are key
The roadmap will create more than 300,000 jobs by 2030, and almost a million jobs by 2060. It also presents a unique opportunity to deliver a true low-carbon and rapid development model in Africa’s largest economy.
Osinbajo said: “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 plan comes with launch of a universal energy facility. This will provide a results-based financial programme to support the scaling up of electricity access. It will provide payments to enable solar companies to expand their operations and provide energy for small and medium-sized enterprises across Nigeria, while crowding-in additional private capital.
“The global industry stands ready to support the international co-operation that Nigeria is seeking to foster, and to establish the technical capacity building needed” Dr Nelson Ogunshakin OBE
Industry stands ready to support
Commenting on the plan, the chief executive of FIDIC, the international federation that represents the global infrastructure industry, welcomed the practical approach being taken.
Dr Nelson Ogunshakin OBE, said: “Nigeria’s energy transition plan is setting a direction that many countries across Africa and the world can follow, and that global institutions and investors need to support and accept the use of gas as part of the energy transition programme. The plans, if successfully implemented with right political and industry backing, represent a practical and holistic approach to reducing poverty, raising prosperity, decarbonising their economy through a targeted annual investment of $10bn in renewables, encouraging development of circular economy, and expanding their sustainable energy infrastructure universally.
“The global industry stands ready to support that process, support the international co-operation that Nigeria is seeking to foster, and to establish the technical capacity building needed at federal, state, industry, project, and individual level within Nigeria and beyond to deliver on these ambitions. Such strategy is very much in alignment with the FIDIC Climate Change Charter as part of our Global Goal campaign ”
Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, Nigeria country director for World Bank said the bank plans “to commit over $1.5bn towards the Energy Transition Plan on renewable energy, on power sector reforms, on clean cooking, and wherever opportunities arise.”
Mr. Adam Cortese, CEO of Sun Africa commented “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 $1.5bn financing package.”