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How FG’s Energy Transition Plan will tackle energy poverty, climate change

It is an open secret that Africa grapples with an energy deficit with over 600 million people without access to electricity and about 900m without access to clean cooking energy. Of this population, Nigeria, being the most populous country on the continent, is heavily impacted.

Although there have been various government efforts in Africa to provide access to electricity for all, the recent global launch of Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan (ETP), is the most coordinated and explicit move to attain this goal. At the launch, global leaders and stakeholders across the continent gave a clear indicator that, with a plan and adequate investments, universal access to energy by 2030 and a carbon-neutral energy system by 2060 is achievable, which in the long run will accelerate economic growth and development.

On Wednesday 24 August 2022, the Federal Government of Nigeria demonstrated its commitment to a clean and sustainable future with the global launch of the country’s Energy Transition Plan. At the launch event, hosted by Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President, announcements were made of possible future support by partners and a firm $1.5 billion commitment from the World Bank, and looks forward to seeking another $1.5 billion financing package from a US-based financial institution.

The launch of the Energy Transition Plan (ETP), the government’s ETP showcases the country’s political leadership in the global energy sector, and especially on the African Continent and demonstrates the willingness and capacity of the global community to support a just, equitable and inclusive energy transition.

President Muhammadu Buhari at COP26 in Glasgow 2021 announced Nigeria’s ambition to achieve net-zero by 2060 drawing on insights from the country’s Energy Transition Plan which was developed through the Energy Transition Commission to chart out Nigeria’s unique energy transition pathway. The Plan supports the country’s objectives of achieving universal access to energy by 2030 and a carbon-neutral energy system by 2060, while also providing enough energy to power industry and other productive uses. The Plan is supported by Sustainable Energy for All and the COP26 Energy Transition Council (ETC).

Given the urgency for accelerated action on climate aligned with the Paris Agreement, Nigeria is looking for more partners in innovation and finance at scale to enable a stable transition in energy markets and bottom-up transition pathways across energy markets, adaptation and resilience, nature-based solutions, clean cooking, gender, and green jobs.

Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President declared that Nigeria is seeking $10 billion from international partners to fund the nation’s new Energy Transition Plan, annually. This was just as the World Bank pledged to assist Nigeria in its energy renewal efforts with $1.5 billion.

According to Osinbajo, a roadmap to tackle the dual crises of energy poverty and climate change is by engaging with partners to secure an initial $10 billion support package ahead of COP27 along the lines of the South African Just Energy Transition Partnership announced at COP26 in Glasgow.

“Nigeria would need to spend $410 billion above business-as-usual spending to deliver our Transition Plan by 2060, which translates to about $10 billion per year. Also, Africa’s increasing energy gaps require collaboration to take ownership of the continent’s transition pathways and the action should be decisive and urgent.”

Speaking further, Osinbajo noted that “for Africa, the problem of energy poverty is as important as our climate ambitions. Energy use is crucial for almost every conceivable aspect of development. Wealth, health, nutrition, water, infrastructure, education, and life expectancy are significantly related to the consumption of energy per capita.”

Making reference to the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan, Osinbajo said the plan was designed to tackle climate change and deliver SDG7 by 2030 and net-zero by 2060, while centering the provision of energy for development, industrialisation and economic growth.

On other aspirations of the roadmap, Osinbajo explained that the plan has the potential to create about 340,000 jobs by 2030 and 840,000 by 2060. It also presents a unique opportunity to deliver a true low-carbon and rapid development model in Africa’s largest economy.

Read also: World Bank, US pledge $3bn to Nigeria’s energy transition plan

“We are currently implementing power sector initiatives and reforms focused on expanding our grid, increasing generation capacity, and deploying renewable energy to rural and underserved populations.”

Aside from the transition plan, the Vice President announced the launch of the Universal Energy Facility, “an innovative, results-based, finance programme that focuses specifically on scaling up electricity access for productive uses.”

He explained that, “the Universal Energy Facility will provide grant payments to enable solar companies to expand their operations to small and medium-sized enterprises across Nigeria, while crowding-in additional private capital.

“Projects supported by the Universal Energy Facility will help grow businesses and create jobs, making them key contributors to our Energy Transition Plan.

“I’d like to encourage solar companies in attendance today to engage with this innovative financing opportunity, which is being managed by Sustainable Energy for All.”

Speaking on the effects of Climate Change in Africa, Osinbajo explained that, “climate change threatens crop productivity in regions that are already food insecure, and since agriculture provides the largest number of jobs, reduced crop productivity will worsen unemployment.

“It is certainly time for decisive action, and we just cannot afford to delay. African nations are rising to the challenge. All African countries have signed the Paris Agreement and some countries, South Africa, Sudan, Angola, and Nigeria have also announced net-zero targets.”

Emphasising the importance of collaboration, the vice president noted that Nigeria developed the Energy Transition Plan to engage with the rest of the world in a serious, thorough and data-backed manner. There is a clear need for African nations to engage more critically and vocally in conversations on our global climate future.

“More importantly, we need to take ownership of our transition pathways and design climate-sensitive strategies that address our growth objectives. This is what Nigeria has done with our Energy Transition Plan.”

Shubham Chaudhuri, Nigeria’s country director for World Bank in his remarks, announced that the multilateral institution plans to commit over $1.5 billion towards the Energy Transition Plan on renewable energy, power sector reforms, clean cooking, and wherever opportunities arise.”

On his part, Adam Cortese, chief executive officer, Sun Africa, said that the launch of Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan has further accelerated its efforts, proving Nigeria to be fertile grounds for investments in the sector.

Other speakers at the event commended Nigeria’s leadership and pioneering role in the region, noting the need for data-driven country-level energy transition plans that recognise the unique pathways each country would need to take in order to achieve a just, inclusive and equitable energy transition for all.

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