Osinbajo wants gas to be a transitional fuel

Yemi Osinbajo, Vice-President of Nigeria, has called for natural gas – which Africa, and especially Nigeria, has in abundance – to be accepted as a transitional fuel. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica.

Osinbajo wants gas to be a transitional fuel

Yemi Osinbajo, Vice-President of Nigeria, has called for natural gas – which Africa, and especially Nigeria, has in abundance – to be accepted as a transitional fuel. Osinbajo addressed delegates at the World Economic Forum’s Davos Summit on Friday. 

Osinbajo said that Africa is the continent that contributes least to climate change yet has been most negatively affected by it. This situation cannot be compounded by rules that hamper Africa from adapting.

“For many gas-rich African countries, one of the biggest shocks is the notion that fossil fuels including gas should be defunded, especially by international financial institutions,” he said.

“We think that gas as a transition fuel is absolutely crucial, not just for an effective transition but also for our economies,” Osinbajo added.

He made it clear that gas is “without doubt the only pathway” for Africa to transition out of more hazardous fuels such as coal and heavy oil.

Osinbajo claimed that Nigeria is “probably the first country in Africa to develop an energy transition plan and to cost it out”. The plan, which he said will be launched in the next couple of weeks, includes connecting 5 million homes to solar power, requiring more foreign investment in manufacturing panels and components.

He said there is a “unique opportunity” for companies to invest in Nigerian renewable energy and that the government is providing debt for those who wish to do business in the sector. He also called on developed economies to honour their long-standing pledge to provide USD100-billion annually in climate finance to developing countries.

Peace and security on the continent are seriously threatened by global terrorist franchises from the Sahel to the Horn to Southern Africa, Osinbajo said. As with coronavirus, “terrorism anywhere is a threat to peace everywhere” and he warned global partners not to sit by and allow Africa to be overrun by such extremists. “It is imperative for the international community to make more robust interventions to clear terrorists from Africa just as it did in the Middle East.”

Despite the enormous challenges of tackling covid-19, climate change and terrorism, Osinbajo remained upbeat about economic prospects for Africa and Nigeria. The sub-Saharan economy grew by 3.7% in 2021 and is projected to continue this trajectory into 2022. Nigeria’s National Development Plan 2021-2025 envisages investments totalling USD840-billion, of which 86% is expected to come from the private sector.

In the next three decades, the global population will swell by 2 billion people; 1 billion of those will come from Africa, which now has the world’s fastest growing working-age population. “Africa has the potential to become the factory of the world,” he said.

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