By Bassey Udo
Given the quantum of investments and other challenges involved in the global quest for energy transtion, only strong partnerships and coordination among African countries can guarantee the mobilization of resources required for a just energy transition, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has said.
Osinbajo who stated this in a message he sent to the unveiling of the 4D Digital Green Industrial Corridor and launch of the African Union Transition Fuels Oversight & Regulatory Management Accelerator (TRANSFORMA) said the case by the African continent, “particularly with respect to the just energy transition, is cogent and irrefutable.”
TRANSFORMA is a 4D initiative to fast-track the Digital Green Industrial Corridor between the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) member States.
“Tackling the combined challenges of COVID-19 recovery, climate change and overall sustainable development requires significant resources that can only be delivered through strong partnerships and coordination.
“For instance, the Climate Policy Initiative estimates that Africa needs about $2.8 trillion between 2020 and 2030 to implement our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.
“This translates to about $277 billion per annum but annual climate finance flows in Africa stand at only $29.5 billion,” the VP disclosed.
However, he said “innovations like the 4D Digital Green Corridor and TRANSFORMA, by creating ready platforms for Pan-African collaboration, are critical to finance and more broadly, resource mobilization on the continent.
He said it was exciting to see that this comes as other initiatives such as the African Carbon Market initiative was being announced.
Making the call for stronger collaboration across Africa, the Vice President said “many of our challenges and priorities are shared. African governments are tasked with eradicating poverty, providing opportunities for our expanding populations, delivering robust healthcare solutions and unlocking prosperity for future generations.”
He said the beneficial role of Pan-African cooperation on these issues has been established, adding that reports from the World Bank estimate that the AfCFTA could raise income on the continent by over $450 billion by 2035 and lift 50 million people out of extreme poverty.
More importantly, he said the continent could see foreign direct investment increase by between 111 percent and 159 percent under the AfCFTA.
His submission was that the “maximization of this potential, which was what the 4D Digital Green Industrial Corridor and TRANSFORMA propose to do,” must be a priority.
Osinbajo emphasized the need for stakeholders to be united in order to attract more attention, noting that it was clear “our joint advocacy on principles for a just transition is getting stronger, our home-grown solutions must do the same.”
“Our case as a continent, particularly with respect to the just energy transition, is cogent and irrefutable. We cannot accept a global energy transition that leaves millions of our people in the dark, exposed to harmful pollutants due to unclean cooking, or poor and unemployed because of limited industrial activity,” he said.
The VP said like the U.S, China, Japan, and other developed economies, where gas was a major pillar of their multi-decadal decarbonization strategies, Africa deserved the policy flexibility and support to leverage natural gas for the speedy resolution of our energy needs.
“Natural gas has a key role to play in Africa as a transition fuel to facilitate the delivery of electricity access and clean cooking solutions, the scaleup and integration of renewable energy into the energy mix and the switch from dirtier fuels like diesel and petrol,” he added.
On Nigeria’s energy transition efforts, Osinbajo said the country was well-aligned with the goals of the Green Recovery Action Plan, and we see clear synergies with the mandate of TRANSFORMA.
“For example, in 2020, as part of our Economic Sustainability Plan to drive post-COVID recovery and economic growth, our government unveiled the National LPG Expansion Implementation Programme realizing the potential of LPG and other NGLs to address energy access, climate and industrial bottlenecks.”
He said estimates of economic activities stimulated by the domestic utilization of Nigeria’s recoverable gas reserves could support 6.5 million full-time equivalent jobs and produce $18.3 billion in gross value addition annually, with over $5 billion of this amount directly from capturing the economic value of natural gas liquids (NGLs).
“TRANSFORMA is indeed a welcome development, and we recognize the value that the transcontinental policy and implementation vehicle offers in mobilizing larger investments, improving shared learning and producing larger economies of scale for individual nations like Nigeria and also for the entire continent,” he said.