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Business News of Monday, 26 September 2022

Source: punchng.com

Africa can’t develop without power – Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has disclosed that without adequate electricity supply, all efforts and energy channelled towards the development of Africa economically and socially will not materialise.

Obasanjo and other world leaders spoke on Friday during the FIN International Trade and Investment Forum, a sideline event at the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, New York.

According to Obasanjo, Africans, their friends and development partners must work together to raise sufficient investment for getting enough power to help Africa develop, saying that he personally believed that the resources were out there.

The development came just as the Director General of the World Trade Organization, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who also spoke at the event, said that Africa could not industrialise or have a solid continental manufacturing base without energy.

The WTO boss noted the green statistics of energy access on the continent was instructive, saying that the International Energy Agency had estimated a $28 billion annual investment gap for energy for the continent up to 2030.

Speaking virtually at the event, Obasanjo said there was a need for African countries to create the conducive environment for investment to come into the continent for power generation, power distribution and robust power transmission.

He said, “Today, we have to think of grid systems, off grid systems and indeed individual domestic systems 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 leader 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.”

Preferring solutions to the energy gap in Africa, Okonjo-Iweala said African countries could not increase the continent’s shelf world trade without adding more value to our products through that manufacturing base.

She further disclosed that African countries’ future well-being on the continent was limited by improved energy access.

She said, “At the same time, the world 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 crises with limited fiscal space.

“But we must not lose sight of the opportunities of this crisis. Africa is abundantly endowed with energy resources from gas to renewables, all waiting for investment.

“High global energy prices make new gas investments more evident, especially as a transition mechanism of will.

“Even as we strive towards renewables, let us focus on mutually beneficial energy investments for Africa and the world by taking up the opportunities to harness the continent’s gas and renewable energy resources.”

Delivering her keynote address at the event, the Chairman, Board of Directors, NNPC Limited, Senator Margery Chuba Okadigbo, said sustainable and renewable energy was fundamental to Africa’s future.

According to her, the UN had disclosed that by 2050, the continent would be the home of two billion people, and two in five of the world’s children would be born there.

She then said, “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.”

Other African leaders and experts also suggested the way forward in addressing the challenges of power in the continent.

One of the speakers at the event, the Chairman of Hinduja Europe, Prakash Hinduja, also said, “ “II would like to say for the next 100 years, the world is going to keenly watch Asia and Africa.

“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for investors and corporations in the United States to engage with Africa power is just the starting point.

“We need to sow the seeds now, so that tomorrow the future generations can harvest the benefit. We owe it to the next generation. More people to Africa.”

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