Africa deserves fairness in global energy transition, Osinbajo

Africa deserves fairness in global energy transition, Osinbajo

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has described the global energy transition as an opportunity for the preservation of the earth and a vehicle for unlocking the development potential and livelihoods of millions of people, especially those in developing countries.

He, however, noted that the transition has to be fair and sensitive to the peculiarities and priorities of Africa

Osinbajo said these at the 2022 Standard Bank Climate Summit themed, ‘Africa’s Path to Carbon Neutrality,’ where he spoke on “how to manage the energy transition to net-zero in the context of Africa’s unique challenges, such as energy poverty.”

READ ALSO: PDP reacts to Wike’s endorsement of Sanwo-Olu

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, on Thursday.

“The current energy transition is an opportunity like none other for the preservation of the planet, but it can also be a vehicle for unlocking the development potential and livelihoods of millions of people. There is no reason why we cannot have both,” Osinbajo was quoted as saying.

He said the global community must account for diverse realities and accommodate various pathways to net-zero, “particularly for African nations which need financial and technical support as well as the flexibility to develop as swiftly as possible. This will ensure a fair and balanced energy transition that leaves no one behind.

“How we manage the global energy transition must be sensitive to Africa’s priorities. The global energy transition must place energy access for both consumptive and productive uses at the heart of climate action,” he added.

He noted that “to ensure a global energy transition that is favourable to us, African nations need to engage more critically and vocally on this matter.”

Making reference to Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan as a leading light, he said “the value of having a nation-specific, data-driven plan as the basis of our activities and engagements cannot be overemphasized,” adding that “the plan provides a clear financial estimate for the achievement of Nigeria’s energy access and transition goals.”

“Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan finds that an additional $10 billion over business as usual is required annually till 2060 to shift the entire economy to a net-zero pathway. We hope to see more of such plans on the continent,” he noted.

Citing another example of efforts to have a pan-African position on energy transition, Osinbajo said, “This is underway with certain countries including Nigeria developing and signing on to the Kigali Communiqué which came out of the Sustainable Energy for All Forum in June, and outlines principles for a just and equitable energy transition.”

He continued, “We must take ownership of our transition pathways and design climate-sensitive strategies that address our growth objectives. We must clearly and thoroughly articulate our priorities, strategies and needs.”

Justifying Africa’s stand for a just and balanced energy transition, the Vice President noted that “though Africa’s current unmet energy needs are huge, future demand will be even greater as populations expand, people move into the middle class and rapid urbanization continues.”

Specifically, the VP observed that in 2020, “Sub-Saharan Africa had 568 million people without access to electricity. This represents more than three-quarters of the world’s total unelectrified population. On the other hand, most developed nations have 100% energy access. Surely, the race to net-zero must not leave people in the dark.

“Also, Sub-Saharan Africa remains the only region in which the number of people without access to clean cooking fuels and technologies is rising. 19 of the 20 countries with lowest clean cooking access rates are in Africa.”

Osinbajo argued that “limiting the development of gas projects, as a critical energy transition pathway for Africa, violates enshrined principles of equity and justice, and poses dire challenges for African nations while making an insignificant dent in global emissions.”

He said “Africa has contributed the least of any global region to greenhouse gas emissions and currently emits under 4 per cent of global emissions. Under no plausible scenario are Africa’s emissions a threat to global climate targets. Unfounded predictions should not serve as excuses to limit our energy technology options.

“Limiting financing of gas projects for domestic use in Africa would pose a severe challenge to the pace of economic development, delivery of electricity access and clean cooking solutions, and the scaleup and integration of renewable energy into the energy mix.”

On financing energy transition, Osinbajo said “a balanced and just approach to the energy transition recognizes that finance is key. Lack of access to finance remains the biggest challenge for accelerating action on energy access and climate goals in Africa.”

The Vice President restated the call on developed countries to bridge the disparity in energy investments, noting that “of the $2.8 trillion invested in renewable energy from 2000 to 2020, only about 2%, $60 billion, came to Africa.”

“It has been estimated by the International Energy Agency that Africa will need around $133 billion annually in clean energy investment to meet our energy and climate goals between 2026 and 2030.”


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: