Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says that instead of prioritizing efforts to redirect global capital to African nations, efforts are currently underway by wealthier countries to limit the development of gas projects in Africa.
This he said is in violation of the principles of equity and justice enshrined in global agreements.”
Osinbajo made the remarks while speaking during a virtual conference themed: ‘Climate, Conflict, and Demography in Africa’, his spokesman, Laolu Akande, said in a statement.
The conference was jointly hosted by the International Crisis Group, the Royal African Society, and African Confidential publications on Tuesday.
In the past, Professor Osinbajo had at different fora raised the issue of financing of gas projects in developing countries, like Nigeria, advocating for a just transition and more effective engagements towards the target of Net-Zero Emission by 2050.
At a meeting held earlier in February with the British Member of Parliament and COP26 President-Designate, Mr. Alok Sharma, Professor Osinbajo restated Nigeria’s support and commitment to the climate change agreement but cited the planned restrictions on financing of gas projects in African countries as a potential setback.
Also, in March this year, at a meeting with a delegation from the European Union (EU) led by its Executive Vice President, Mr. Valdis Dombrovskis, the vice president reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to the global green energy initiative but called for a just transition to zero-emission.
Speaking at the virtual event on Tuesday, Osinbajo emphasized that despite Africa’s contribution to climate change being negligible, “we continue to be the most adversely impacted by climate change, so much so that public resources that could help modernize the energy mix has to be redirected towards adaptation spending.”
Regarding the amount of investments required in clean electricity – generation and grid storage infrastructure, Osinbajo stated that to get the world on track for net-zero emissions by 2050, it would cost more than US$1.6 trillion per year by 2030.
“This is over four times more than what was invested in these sectors in 2020. In regions like Africa, installed electricity capacity will need to double by 2030 and increase at least five-fold by 2050,” he said.
Giving reasons for his argument against defunding gas projects, Professor Osinbajo said, “Our first obligation will always be to ensure the wellbeing of our people, through access to development services including electricity, healthcare, education, safe jobs, and a safe environment, including access to clean cooking fuels.
“We must prioritize solutions that align with development and climate agendas, this is absolutely important. The global climate conversation can only be equitable and inclusive by putting all people in all geographies at the heart of the endeavor to save the planet.”
In attendance at the virtual event were the Minister of Environment for Ghana, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, who represented the President of Ghana; Chairperson of the Royal African Society, Ms. Arunma Oteh; Patrick Smith, Publisher of African Confidential, and the event was moderated by Bola Mosuro.