Nigeria Intensifies Bid to Host $5bn Africa’s First Energy Bank, Meets with APPO Countries’ Envoys

•Lists reasons why it’s most qualified among contenders

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

The federal government last night went a step further in its bid for Africa’s first energy bank, meeting with envoys of members of the Africa Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO) to convince them on why the facility should be located in Africa’s biggest oil producer.

The idea of the bank was floated to ensure long-term energy efficiency and security for Africa, following the hesitation of the West to continue to invest in fossil fuels on the continent.

Speaking at a dinner in Abuja, the Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, noted that establishing the Africa Energy Bank (AEB) represents a bold and strategic move towards ensuring energy security, fostering economic growth, and promoting sustainable development across Africa.

He argued that Nigeria’s bid to host the headquarters of the pivotal institution was a testament to its unwavering commitment to these goals, maintaining that over the past months, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources had worked tirelessly to prepare for the moment.

“We have achieved significant milestones, including a comprehensive assessment by the APPO Afrexim-Bank inspection team. Their positive evaluation underscores Nigeria’s readiness and capability to host the AEB.

“However, the journey does not end here. To secure the hosting rights, we need the collective support of all APPO Member Countries. Our competitors have intensified their efforts by appointing Special Envoys to lobby for their bids.

“In response, we are appealing to each of you to recognise the advantages of situating the AEB headquarters in Nigeria. Nigeria offers a strategic geographical location, robust infrastructure, and a dynamic energy sector,” he stated.

Nigeria, he said, is committed to fostering a collaborative environment that will enable the AEB to thrive and achieve its mandate effectively, explaining that the dinner was not just a gathering, but a call to action.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Nicholas Ella, stated that Nigeria’s strategic location at the crossroads of West Africa renders Abuja offers an unrivalled nexus of connectivity and accessibility.

With its extensive network of transportation infrastructure and logistical capabilities, Ella said that Abuja offers a strategic gateway to the entire African continent, providing the bank with unparalleled access to key energy markets, stakeholders, and decision-makers across Africa.

“By selecting Abuja as its host city, the Africa Energy Bank can serve as a linchpin of connectivity, fostering collaboration and catalysing progress on a continental scale. Nigeria’s rich endowment of oil, gas, and renewable energy resources present an unparalleled opportunity for the Africa Energy Bank to harness the continent’s vast energy potential and drive sustainable development,” he added.

Furthermore, he said that Nigeria’s burgeoning renewable energy sector, characterised by abundant solar and wind resources, holds immense promise for powering Africa’s future.

With huge oil and gas reserves, he stated that Nigeria seeks to leverage its energy wealth to catalyse innovation, investment, and economic diversification across the continent, ensuring energy security and resilience for generations to come.

By hosting the bank, he noted that Nigeria reaffirms its steadfast dedication to advancing the principles of cooperation, inclusivity, and shared prosperity among African nations.

He said that Nigeria’s proactive approach to regulatory reform has positioned the country as a paragon of stability and transparency within the global energy landscape.

In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Adamu Lamuwa, represented by Ben Okorie, described the event as a matter of extraordinary significance, explaining that the gravity of the decision cannot be overstated.

“It holds the power to shape the trajectory of energy cooperation and development across Africa for generations to come,” he stressed.

As Africa embarks on the transformative journey together, guided by the principles of cooperation, inclusivity, and sustainability, he expressed confidence at its collective ability to realise a future of prosperity and progress for all Africans.

Among some of the reasons Nigeria marshalled for being the most suitable, in a brief at the event, was that Nigeria’s banks had continued to make giant strides across the continent, stressing that cooperation with AEB will help unlock the needed financing.

“Nigeria stands as Africa’s leading oil producer and ranks as the ninth-largest oil exporter globally. Nigeria holds Africa’s largest natural gas reserves and ranks ninth globally, boasting proven reserves of 200 trillion cubic feet and gas production capacity standing at 8.5 billion cubic feet per day.

“Nigeria commits to providing the needed privileges and immunities as well as other guarantees needed to operate the Treaty and the Bank. Nigeria’s robust energy sector provides a solid foundation for the AEB initiative, offering a conducive environment for addressing its financing needs.

“Hosting the bank in Nigeria ensures proximity to key energy technocrats and experts, which is essential for formulating and implementing effective solutions to Africa’s energy challenges,” the country argued.

The bank’s share capital is expected to be $5billion to be subscribed over three years with an initial capital of $ 1.5 billion reserved for APPO member countries. Afrexim Bank has been supporting APPO to establish the Bank and has approved an investment of $1.75 billion for the bank.

The AEB will finance hydrocarbon, oil, and gas infrastructure and developments across the energy streams and target shareholders shall be African governments, national oil companies, sovereign wealth funds, private and public sector institutional investors, and international partners like the Middle East and Asia.

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