The position of Africa as the lowest emitter of carbon dioxide has earned the continent the right to approach its energy transition in a measured pace and attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to ensure the best possible use of its resources, Tosin Etomi, head, commercial and planning, Asharami Energy (a Sahara Group Upstream Company) has said.
Etomi who spoke yesterday at the 2nd Nigeria 2.0 Summit, a collaborative initiative by Olaniwun Ajayi, a law firm and BusinessDay, said Africa’s transition to cleaner fuels should be driven by its resources, through the application of technology, fresh investments, and partnership among Africans.
“The greenest continent today is still Africa; the means of livelihood in Africa are largely connected to fossil fuels. We should have justification for how we should grow at our own pace. Nigeria should grow at its own pace with its resources,” Etomi said at the session which was themed: ‘Rethinking Key Sectors of the Nigerian Economy’.
According to Global Annual CO2 Emissions 2021 records from ourworldindata.org, Asia is by far the largest emitter, accounting for 53 percent of global emissions. However, as it is home to 60 percent of the world’s population this means that per capita emissions in Asia are slightly lower than the world average. North America – dominated by the USA – is the second largest regional emitter at 18% of global emissions. Asia is followed closely by Europe with 17 percent. Africa and South America are both small emitters: accounting for 3-4 percent of global emissions each.
“Despite the dearth of investments, Africa could still strive towards meeting the continent’s energy needs through collaboration and prioritising the African narrative for Africans by Africans,” Etomi stated.
According to him, Africa’s path towards energy transition should be determined by Africa. “There is a huge need to develop gas quickly to light up opportunities in Nigeria and across Africa. We also need to ensure that an Africa-focused energy transition program is adopted to ensure no one on the continent is left behind,” he added.
Panellists at the summit stated that effectively tackling insecurity would help facilitate an inflow of FDI needed in the oil and gas and other critical sectors of the economy. “One key area to focus on to attract investment in the energy sector is security. The energy sector is a critical sector for the Nigerian economy, and it is important to create a secure environment for investors,” they said.
The panellists also urged the optimization of local content opportunities to help drive the nation’s quest for energy access and security as well as facilitate a seamless transition journey in Nigeria.
They noted that Nigeria needs a stronger economy to tend to its teeming population and eradicate poverty, adding that the country’s energy demand will grow faster than what renewable energy technologies are likely to offer.