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US-Africa Summit: Buhari Restates 30 Gigawatts Electricity Target for Nigeria By 2030

He sought financial and technical assistance from the US.

President Muhammadu Buhari has restated the Nigerian government’s target of generating 30 gigawatts of electricity by 2030. Buhari said this during a discussion panel on “Just Energy Transition” at the on-going US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC.

He outlined the comprehensive energy transition plan of his administration, in response to issues associated with climate change.

According to Buhari, “As part of the National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy, we set the vision 30:30:30, which aims at achieving 30GW of electricity by 2030, with renewable energy contributing 30 per cent of the energy mix.

“Last year, Nigeria became the first African country to develop a detailed Energy Transition Plan to tackle both energy poverty and climate change and deliver SDG7 by 2030 and net-zero by 2060.

“Our Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the plan earlier this year and adopted it as a national policy. As part of the plan, we intend to completely eliminate the use of petrol/diesel generators by 2060 and therefore need to deploy renewables, particularly solar, at an unprecedented scale.

“For instance, the Energy Transition Plan requires that 5.3 GW of Solar be deployed annually until 2060 to achieve our targets.”

The president further explained that the Nigerian government had embarked on several reforms, including mini-grid regulations as well as the integration of renewable energy into the national grid. He disclosed some of the reforms, which had positively impacted the energy sector in Nigeria.

The president said, “Our aggressive power sector reforms have resulted in cost-reflective tariffs in the power sector for the first time since privatisation. Under the Nigeria Electrification Project, over four million people have been impacted through solar mini-grids and solar stand-alone systems. With respect to hydro, the Zungeru hydropower project is nearing completion and will add 700MW in capacity to the grid.”

Buhari also called for “considerable financial and technical support” to achieve the goals. 

According to him, “For instance, our analysis shows that delivering the Energy Transition Plan requires $1.9 trillion spending up to 2060, including $410 billion above business-as-usual spending.

“This additional financing requirement translates to a $10 billion investment needed per annum. Between 2000 and 2020, just $3 billion per year was invested in renewable energy in the whole of Africa.

“Consequently, the $10 billion per year target of our Energy Transition Plan represents a significant scaling of current investment flows and we need support from the US to mobilise the needed resources. It is important to note that for African countries, the cost of finance and perceived investment risk remains significantly higher than for developed economies despite vast improvements in stability and governance.

“For our clean energy market to scale, Nigeria and more broadly Africa needs concessional, low-interest capital-led investments.

“Furthermore, we believe that the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan and the net-zero compliant investment pipeline we have developed is prime for a just energy transition partnership like the one offered to South Africa and more recently, Indonesia.

“Nigeria too seeks support from the US to be included in the G7’s Climate Partnerships List for the co-creation of a Just Energy Transition Partnership.”

Buhari also called on US businessmen and the global community to tap, “into the innovation and potential returns in our enormous market which is yet to be fully optimised.”

Earlier in his remarks, the US Secretary, Department of State, Antony Blinken, said communities across the continent were feeling the impact of a changing climate,]. Blinken said severe storms had battered southern Africa; surging temperature kindle wildfires in northern Africa; rising seas threaten lives and livelihoods on island nations, while extreme weather events in central Africa worsen already-dire food crises and fuel tensions that feed and fuel violent conflict.

He said they were aware that African nations had contributed relatively little to the crisis, but added that Africa was disproportionately harmed by it. He stated that it was both unfair and unrealistic to ask Africans to turn their backs on economic development and opportunity in the name of a clean energy transition.

According to Buhari, “First, we are partnering to conserve ecosystems.  Africa is home to some of the world’s most precious ecosystems, which are critical for combating climate change. 

“And we are building new coalitions between African governments, the private sector, civil society to protect other vital ecosystems across the continent. Oceans are also a key part of this fight.

” That’s why we’ve launched the Ocean Conservation Pledge to encourage countries to commit to protect at least 30 per cent of their ocean waters by the year 2030. 

“Second, we are partnering to make commitments and communities more resilient in the face of climate change.  The President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience is working with national governments to help more than half a billion people in developing countries manage the impacts of climate change.  “This and other initiatives to support climate-resilient agriculture are increasingly critical as Russia’s war of aggression compounds the impact on food security.

“Africa will be at the centre of the clean energy transition.  Its renewable energy potential is second to none.  It’s home to roughly a third of all critical minerals, essential to the technology that will power the clean energy economy, like batteries for renewable energy storage and wind turbines. 

“But with nearly half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population lacking reliable access to electricity and the population set to grow to more than two billion people by 2050, how that transition is made will be decisive in shaping our future climate.

“The United States will work closely with African countries as they determine how best to meet their specific energy needs – understanding that, for many, the clean energy transition will be a transition to consistent, reliable energy in the first place.  We’ll do so through programs like Power Africa, which has mobilised the public and private sectors to deliver cleaner, more reliable electricity to over 165 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa who previously didn’t have access.  We’re proud to announce a new investment of $290 million in that programme.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria and Rwanda signed the Artemis Accords, making them the first African signatories to the agreement.

Participants at the forum, which was part of the on-going US-Africa Leaders’ Summit, discussed how to further share goals through peaceful exploration and use of outer space.

The Artemis Accords are a set of principles to guide the next phase in space exploration, reinforcing and providing for important operational implementation of key obligations in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.

The Accords affirm the importance of implementing best practices and norms of responsible behaviour as well as compliance with the Registration Convention and the Rescue and Return Agreement.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ibrahim, signed the Artemis Accords on behalf of Nigeria, while the CEO of Rwanda Space Agency, Francis Ngabo, signed on behalf of Rwanda. They were joined on the U.S. side by Assistant Secretary of State Monica Medina, Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Bill Nelson, and Executive Secretary of the National Space Council, Chirag Parikh.  With their signatures, 23 nations have signed the Artemis Accords.

In furtherance of Nigeria’s goal of providing all its citizens broadband access by 2025, Nigeria announced that SpaceX’s high-speed, low latency broadband service, Starlink, was now available in the country, making Nigeria the first country in Africa where Starlink would be available.

The forum also discussed the role of the private sector in supporting US-Africa space partnership.

The Accords now boast 23 signatories, spanning every corner of the globe and representing a diverse set of space interests and capabilities.

Through signing the Artemis Accords, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States have demonstrated their commitment to the peaceful, responsible, and sustainable use of outer space and are leading the global conversation on the future of space exploration.

A number of US companies recently announced new investments in the US-Africa partnership.

In another development, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the US government would be committing over $55 billion to support health and climate adaption in Africa.

Sullivan announced this yesterday on the side-lines of the US-Africa summit in Washington D.C. He revealed that the US was committed to investing in the African continent compares favourably to other countries.

Sullivan explained that the money would go to a wide range of sectors to tackle core challenges, and would be distributed in close partnership with Congress.

According to him, “The bulk of the money will be spent on health and climate adaptation. The Biden-Harris administration will be providing nearly $20 billion in health programmes in the Africa region.

“That includes $11.5 billion dollars to address HIV/AIDS; more than $2 billion dollars to combat malaria; more than $2 billion dollars in support of family planning and reproductive health as well as maternal and child health; and more than $2 billion dollars to address the health, humanitarian, and economic impacts of COVID-19. The administration also plans to ask Congress for $4 billion for healthcare workers in Africa, investing $1.33 billion annually from 2022 to 2024.”

THISDAY learnt that since January 2021, the Buhari administration had invested and planned to provide at least $1.1 billion to support African-led efforts to achieve conservation, climate adaptation, and energy transitions.

“These funds include U.S. International Development Finance Corporation investments into Malawi’s Golomoti JCM Solar Corporation, and a Climate Action Infrastructure Facility,” Sullivan stated.

Sullivan also said President Joe Biden would host a dinner on Wednesday night for about 50 African leaders and announced US support for the African Union to join the Group of 20 (G20) major economies.

Ugo Aliogo in Washington DC