Niger State must be on the global map, we have a lot to offer the world but they must know about us first, Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago said at a late night meeting while hosting a delegation from the Deutsche Bank led by Edwin Barlow.
Since assuming office the Governor of Niger State at every point and turn has marketed Niger State to the nation and the world. In a bid to open up the state to the realization of its full potential and enhance its prosperity index. Let me digress a bit having Amina J Mohammed the UN Deputy Secretary General to deliver the keynote was not only a master stroke but is pivotal in mainstreaming the state in the realm of global developmental strides, to also understand the reach of the news of this maiden edition, is the appearance of the event in Ajanse Andalus the Mediterranean and Balkans region top most news agency and distributor.
Now back to the green economy also referred to as the circular economy” or “bioeconomy” are often overlooked however their immense potential if well harnessed can bring about life changing and impactful sustainable development. The sectors that are remotely connected to the Green Economy are renewable energy, low-carbon transportation, energy-efficient buildings, clean technologies, improved waste management, improved freshwater provision, sustainable agriculture, forestry, inclusivity, tourism and fisheries.
The beauty of this sector as outlined above is that Niger State is blessed with all of these in abundance. However, what is an interesting point to a potential investor is the collation and production of the first green economy blueprint — a strategic document outlining a visionary roadmap that will shape the development choices of Niger State in alignment with its sustainability goals. To understand the thinking of policy makers in Niger State led by the Governor is to dissect the objective of the current interest of the State as regards the green economy. There is an overall ambitious objective which is to transform Niger state into a beacon of green prosperity that is environmentally sustainable, socially inclusive, and economically robust.
A glimpse into the granular components of the plan shows the avenues of sourcing financial support, technological transfer, capacity building, and fostering strategic partnerships in the realization of our mission of the green economy agenda. To mention a few the include the availability of top-tier healthcare system, access to high-quality and inclusive education, provision of protection of lives and property, assured food security, clean drinking water, affordable housing, recreational venues, and opportunities for sports and leisure. Just like the Hausa proverb that a song sounds better from the lips of the singer, Governor Bago stated in his speech at the maiden edition that “We envision a state with a sustainable economy, underpinned by substantial agricultural growth, investments in tourism, the utilization of renewable energy, the responsible extraction of solid minerals, fostering innovation, embracing cutting-edge technology, promoting diverse services, establishing free trade zones, cultivating industrial parks, and establishing economic cities as vital hubs for development and employment.” This all encompassing vision of harnessing the green potentials of the state no doubt has the unique opportunity of a steadily turning away the state from the straddle of multidimensional poverty it had fallen into over the years.
The aforementioned point is wholly supported by no other person than the UN Deputy Secretary General where she stated that Nigeria must chart a new course forward by investing in the transition to clean energy from renewable sources. She further went ahead to commend the State government for launching the green economy blueprint, saying it has great potential to drive sustainable development in the state and the country at large. “Nigeria must set a shift and chart a new way forward that leaves no one behind by investing in the transition to clean energy from renewable sources. Niger has the potential to be the trailblazer on this path. Investing in the green economy would unleash the next great wave of human and sustainable development, particularly for our youths.”
The Governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Zulum, said fossil fuels and carbon emissions are of “great concern to Nigeria” investments in renewable energy are crucial to tackling desertification in the country he added. Most importantly he is willing to support the State government especially in sharing from the peculiar experience of Borno State.
More than anything else that excites Nigerlites is the announcement of the provision of N3.5 billion incentive to 1,000 young farmers as part of measures to boost agricultural development. The multiplier effect of this is immeasurable.
Governor Bago aside being the first mover in the green sector is changing the socioeconomic face of Niger State, the energy and vibrant governance strides being witnessed with initiatives like the Green Economy blueprint will in the end not only mitigate multidimensional poverty but most importantly increase the prosperity index of Niger state for the common good of all.
Abdulkadir is the honorary special adviser to the Governor of Niger State on Intergovernmental and Development Partnerships.