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Nigeria’s energy transition: A win-win for jobs, growth, and the planet

Amid global discussions on shifting from fossil fuels to clean and renewable energy, experts in the energy sector have raised optimism on how the transition provides Nigeria and Africa a huge opportunity for job creation and technology advancement.

To harness such gains, however, Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) would be needed in the energy transition process, according to Seriake Dickson, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ecology and Climate Change, who spoke during the African Climate Forum 2023 in Abuja.

He said the partnerships would be needed because Funding has been identified as a significant hurdle for the continent in the transition endeavor.

“Great challenges also come with great opportunities. The transitioning to clean energy is not just about mitigating the effects of climate change but also preparing the economy provision. Financing this transition represents a win win scenario for all and for the entire economy,” he explained

While beckoning on stakeholders to generate modalities that would help transform the economy, Dickson stressed that the responsibility of financing the transition to clean energy cannot rest solely on the government.

He noted the massive investments required for a sustainable energy future and the need for collaboration between government and the private sector.

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“It our collective responsibility to drive this energy transition and financing. Transitioning to a sustainable energy future is not an easy task. We have been told that Africa has 40% of the world’s energy renewable sources and yet available finances so far indicates that we have only attracted 2%,” he lamented.

He said the transition requires massive investment, a clean energy infrastructure, investment in innovative technologies and a shift generally in energy consumption matters.

He stressed that Financing the transition will require legislative intervention, promoting public private partnerships, incentives and subsidies, carbon pricing, technology and innovation education and awareness creation.

In his remarks, George Nwangwu, Director-General Global Center for Law, Business, and Economy, underscored the myriad opportunities that the energy transition presents to Africa. He stressed that the private sector will play a pivotal role in shaping Africa’s energy transition, as solutions emerging from the Nairobi summit will guide this transformation.

“These opportunities encompass leading in the development of cutting-edge technologies, generating new employment opportunities, and nurturing fresh skills, capabilities, and expertise.” He stressed the significance of preparing the population to harness these prospects effectively.

Nwangwu said lack of dependable power supply poses substantial challenges to both individuals and businesses, resulting in estimated annual economic losses of $26.2 billion, equivalent to 2% of GDP.

He issued a stern warning, stating, “Africa, home to a significant portion of the world’s impoverished population, must take energy-related matters seriously. Mishandling the energy transition in Africa could constitute an existential threat to the continent itself.”

Salisu Dahiru, the Director-General of the National Council on Climate Change, outlined Nigeria’s three primary strategies for a well-focused energy transition: the NDC, LT-LEDS, and the ETP. He emphasized that these strategies can only be successfully implemented through effective government coordination, a strong political commitment, and collaborative efforts from both the public and private sectors.

“To realize these strategies, we must secure funding from various sources, including domestic budget allocations, private sector investments (both national and international), as well as bilateral and multilateral financing mechanisms,” he asserted.

Dahiru highlighted the pressing need to navigate the complex and ever-changing landscape of funding sources.

He explained that the government’s role is to stimulate demand and create opportunities in the market, encouraging private sector investments in climate-friendly products and services. This entails the implementation of policies and incentives to facilitate the transition from conventional practices to environmentally friendly ones.

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