Osinbajo Urges Developed Countries to Commit to Funding Africa’s Energy Transition

*Says Nigeria requires $400bn new investments to meet its net-zero target
Dike Onwuamaeze

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has tasked developed nations to commit to fully funding Africa’s energy transition.  

Osinbajo made the call in an article he penned in The Economist magazine titled: “Yemi Osinbajo on the Hypocrisy of Rich Countries’ Climate Policies,” in which he argued that Nigeria required $400 billion of new investment above business-as-usual spending to meet its net-zero target.

He also stated that that Africa was not a threat to the global climate targets, adding that LNG should be recognised as a clean cooking alternative.

Osinbajo wrote: “First, developed nations should commit to funding, in full, Africa’s energy transition. This is both a moral imperative and an environmental necessity.

“We estimate that Nigeria requires $400 billion of new investment above business-as-usual spending to meet its net-zero pledge. A green energy package, akin to South Africa’s, should offer at least $10 billion per year over the next two decades. Investments would cover not only new renewable generation projects, but also transmission infrastructure, smart grids, data management systems, storage capacity, electric vehicles, clean cooking, and the costs of integrating new distributed energy systems.”

He noted that a promising step was announced last year in Scotland at COP26, the annual UN climate talks, when South Africa received a $8.5 billion package to accelerate its energy transition, and argued that, “it is high time to extend that kind of support to the rest of the continent.

“Now is the ideal time to reset global policy so as to bolster Africa’s plans for producing clean energy. Wealthy countries have contributed the most to climate change, and they cannot demand more stringent actions than they will commit to themselves.”

He also pointed out that the world would not be able to tackle collective challenges if poor nations are treated as second class, or their aspirations ignored.

Osinbajo insisted that instead of viewing Africa’s emergence as a threat to be blocked, the continent should be seen as a tremendous opportunity, since the challenge for the continent was to transition to net-zero emissions while at the same time building sustainable power systems to drive development and economic opportunity.

He added that The EU’s recent decision to label natural gas and nuclear power as green investments recognised a critical truth that, “different countries will follow different paths in the energy transition. If this is true for Europe, it’s even truer for diverse African nations.”

According to him, after enduring colonialism, decades of unfair economic practices and COVID-19 vaccine apartheid, Africa, “cannot accept regressive climate policy as another injustice. Tackling the dual crises of poverty and climate change can only succeed if all countries play their fair part–and all of humanity is lifted up together.

“Though solar will provide most of our power in the future, we still need natural gas for base load power and balance. We insist that liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) be included as a clean cooking alternative to save the lives of our women and girls and to protect our own natural environment.

“Europe says it needs a decade more of gas investment to meet its 2050 climate targets. Africa—with our greater challenges—should have at least two more decades in order to meet our climate targets.”

The vice president argued strongly that the Nigerian government remained committed to universal energy access, adding that all Nigerians deserved to enjoy the benefits of modern energy that are taken for granted in the rich world.

“We should aim to generate a national average power output of at least 1,000 kilowatt-hours per person which, combined with population growth, means that by 2050 we will need to generate 15 times more electricity than we do today. That ambitious goal will require vast resources,” he said.

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