Obasanjo, others call on African leaders to increase investment in power sector
Nigerian former president Olusegun Obasanjo, Director General of World Trade Organization (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Dr Margery Okadigbo, Board Chairman of Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) have called on African leaders and their allies to work together to increase investment in the continent’s power sector.
Such investments in the power sector, they said, were required to combat energy poverty, promote industrialization, social and economic development in Nigeria and other African countries.
The three leaders made the call over the weekend while speaking on the sidelines of the FIN International Trade and Investment Forum, at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
According to statements from Obasanjo, all initiatives to develop Africa’s economy and society would be unsuccessful without sufficient electricity. Speaking virtually, he noted that he personally believes the resources were available and that it was crucial that Africans, their friends, and development partners work together to raise enough investments to get enough power to catalyse the development of the continent.
According to him, African nations must create an environment that encourages investment for the continent to have robust power generation, distribution, and transmission.
“Today, we have to think of grid system, off grid system and indeed individual domestic system to take care of what is required, particularly in the rural areas. I will challenge this forum to really work out what should be the factors that our leaders should consider. What should be the factors that Africans in the private sector will consider; and what will be the factors that the foreign investors will need and consider to be able to power Africa in terms of our development economically and socially.”
For Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, Africa could not industrialise or have a strong continental manufacturing base, without energy. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has estimated a $28 billion annual investment gap in energy for the continent up to 2030, according to the WTO boss, who also noted that the green statistics of energy access on the continent were instructive.
She asserted that without increasing the value of products through their manufacturing base, African nations could not increase the continent’s share of global trade. The world, she said, is being buffeted by numerous manmade and natural exogenous shocks that are difficult for policy makers to manage. “These shocks hit a continent struggling to manage simultaneous health, debt and energy crisis with limited fiscal space.”
In her keynote speech, Okadigbo also stressed the importance of sustainable, renewable energy for Africa’s future. She said the UN had indicated that by 2050, two billion people would reside on the continent, and that two out of every five children would be born there. Meeting their needs with sustainable sources of modern energy – for consumption and production – will be essential to social welfare and economic development.
“With a large population of over 200million, a growing middle class and a favourable investment climate, Nigeria’s Power Market offers numerous investment opportunities for Investors interested in power investments through Independent Power Projects (IPPs) such as the Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, Agura and Obite IPPs,” she said.
Source: Energy Ghana