Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has declared that with Africa’s status as the lowest emitters of carbon coupled with its young and vibrant population which is capable of effectively deploying green manufacturing on a large scale, the continent can become the first truly green civilization.
Osinbajo spoke Tuesday at the Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja at the official signing ceremony of the Carbon Vista Agreement – an initiative that aims to support Nigeria in meeting its net-zero targets by investing in carbon avoidance and removal projects.
Carbon Vista is a joint venture investment company established by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, NSIA and Vitol (a multinational energy and commodities company) – committing an initial sum of US$50 million for projects such as climate-smart agriculture, green industrial technologies, waste management, etc., cutting across several sectors, including agriculture, energy, and manufacturing.
The Vice President stressed that Africa can become the first truly green civilization – the first civilization on earth to use renewable fuel for purposes of a transformative economic journey.
Pondering over how that can be realised, Osinbajo said: “First of all, we are the lowest emitters today, and if we are going to develop our industry for the rest of the world, we can start from where we are today, we don’t have to start from where the rest of the world is, especially the global North.
“If we are the least emitters and able to use green energy effectively, we are able to use the young population that we have, we are able to effectively deploy green manufacturing on a scale that would be required to become the global green factory and power of the world, we can indeed do something revolutionary and different.
“This is why what we are seeing today, this sort of collaboration between NSIA and Vitol is an important one because the pipeline of projects they are talking about are the sorts of projects that will make us a truly green economy and can cause us to realize that dream we are talking about”.
The Vice President further stated that Africa’s ambitions are also closely related to the talk about climate justice in the energy transition debate, stressing that the transition must be a fair one, and fossil fuel is still required for several purposes, we must also agree that there is a new way by which Nigeria and Africa can benefit immensely from what is coming to the continent.
He also commended the partnership between NSIA, Vitol and other partners, noting that “this sort of collaboration is only the beginning, we have to do a lot more and demonstrate that we are capable of being not just a victim in the climate change story, but an important catalyst and innovator for making our world greener and introducing to our own people, a prosperous economy based on the green initiatives that we have.”
Determined that Nigeria plays a global role in the voluntary carbon markets, Osinbajo who is co-chair of the ACMI Steering Committee directed the NSIA to play an active role building the voluntary carbon market.
According to him, “the importance of an enabling environment is crucial for Nigeria to play a global role in voluntary carbon markets. This is why I would like NSIA to take the lead in developing the first Nigeria Carbon Market Activation plan and look forward to engagement on the plan.”
He expressed hope that the Carbon Vista Fund will be bigger adding that more investments are expected from other stakeholders.
According to him, “this is such an incredible opportunity and we must not leave it to just be a $50 million fund.”
Also speaking, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed commended the initiative noting that Carbon Vista aligns with the several key priorities of the Federal Government including the quest to grow the country’s Foreign Direct Investment stock, develop a new market that enhances the economy and maximize the country’s abundant natural resources.
“These priorities are crucial to driving sustainable growth and development and also Carbon Vista’s commitment to these goals is commendable.”
On his part, the Managing Director and CEO of NSIA, Mr Aminu Umar-Sadiq, thanked the Vice President for his exceptional leadership in spearheading Nigeria’s Energy Transition ambitions and for hosting the ceremony which officially launched the agency’s newest investment vehicle in the environmental sector.
Commenting on the Carbon Vista initiative, Umar said “it aims to support Nigeria in meeting its net-zero targets by investing in carbon avoidance and removal projects in Nigeria, that deliver significant socioeconomic benefits to Nigerians and promote the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals.
On the partnership with Vitol, the NSIA MD said both organisations “have committed an initial sum of US$50 million to Carbon Vista for projects such as climate-smart agriculture, green industrial technologies, waste management, etc., cutting across several sectors, including agriculture, energy, and manufacturing.
“Over the next few months, we will roll out projects to set the standard for Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investment in Nigeria. These projects will be carefully selected, partnering with local institutions that have proven track records of successfully delivering high-quality projects.”
Making reference to other partnerships for a smoother energy transition in Nigeria, Umar-Sadiq noted that “beyond Carbon Vista, NSIA is working closely with the National Council on Climate Change, as well as the Africa Carbon Market Initiative, to support in developing the carbon market both on a national and continental level thus promoting sustainable investments by incentivizing projects that reduce Green House Gas, GHG emissions.
“These collaborations will facilitate the development and integration of Nigeria’s carbon market with the broader African carbon market, thus creating efficient carbon trading systems and unlocking the economic potential of sustainable development in Africa.”
In his remarks, Vitol’s Global Head of Carbon and Environmental Products, Mr Michael Curran, spoke about the uniqueness of the Carbon Vista initiative, noting that “if you step outside the norm, people can criticize. The easiest thing to do is to stay within your tracks and not do anything new or any initiatives which are bold.
“We are prepared to do both things, the importance of doing this is simultaneously linked with climate change, the objectives of Nigeria for 2060 and the realization of the reality that commercial growth that benefits the population also has to take into consideration the transition, the desire to make sure that we can still grow, the people can have benefits but done in a sustainable manner.”
Deji Elumoye in Abuja