Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, has advised African leaders to immediately define the continent’s energy transition agenda that must address inherent peculiarities while addressing issues around climate change and its effects on economic development.
Osinbajo stated this on Thursday in Abuja at the Infrastructure Solutions Summit organised by the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC). Speaking on Africa’s position on the transition from gas to renewable energy, the Vice President said, “we are in a peculiar position; this is why Africa needs to come in very forcefully to chart a different path. We are not just challenged in terms of global warming, but for us, it is also the existential challenge of just survival.”
According to Prof. Osinbajo, “there are several voices around the world and in Africa who are saying the same thing. I think that there is some change. The EU has categorized nuclear and gas as green investments, and they are saying they are going to need more investments in gas over the next 10 years so as to be able to meet their targets of 2050.
“They are leaving us room to say that we, in Africa, are going to be needing investments in gas in the next 30 years for us to be able to meet our targets.” Continuing, the VP noted that “Africa first needs to come together to put out a vision that is ours for climate change or carbon neutrality by 2050, 2070 or whenever it is convenient.
“I don’t think that Africa has articulated the vision yet, but there are ongoing efforts towards that. We think that at Egypt COP27 (forthcoming climate change conference in Egypt), we will begin to articulate an African vision and initiative, because all of the decisions were initiated and taken by wealthier countries where they defined practically everything about how we respond to climate change. But our own peculiarities and challenges are different.
“We need to have access to energy, access to electricity just to be able to survive and create industry for millions of people. So, Africa has an existential challenge and survival around our economies,” he added. Justifying the case for a wholly African plan and vision on Climate Change, the Vice President said, “no country in the world has been able to industrialize using renewable energy and we (Africa) have been asked to industrialize using renewable energy when everybody else in the world knows that we need gas-powered industries for business. “We need to have investments in fossil fuels. we need energy access for development. I am sure the force of the logic will make it inevitable for African leaders to see that it is actually the way to go.
“We actually need to create room for investments, not just in natural gas for export, but for cooking and for industry. So, I think that the sheer force of the logic of using gas to benefit our communities will make it inevitable for us to invest in fossil fuels.”