Former Minister for Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said the solution to Nigeria’s power problem lies in off-grid initiatives that are climate friendly and not going to the West to beg as victims.
Okonjo-Iweala, who spoke at the Conference of Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, (UNFCCC) in Paris, France, said Nigeria needs to get the private sector involved in the power sector, adding that government must look at renewable and off-grid solutions like the solar power generation.
She said: “Almost three quarters of infrastructure that Africa needs, we still don’t have it. This means that the power we need, the road and the railway, we can still get these infrastructures and have it in a way that is friendly to climate change that lowers emission and puts us on a low carbon growth path. How do we do that?
“We have to get the private sector, we are looking at power, look at renewable energy, we are not saying renewable should be everything because Africa should have a mix. We can still use gas to some extent, but we should increase the renewable. Our companies that are investing should look at off- grid solutions, let our companies get off -grid solar solutions for our people before other people come into it because that is what always happens. Instead of flaring, we can use the gas, we can convert this gas for our use and I know government has the power to do that.”
The former minister, who is also the Commissioner, Global Commission on the Economy and Climate spoke at a session titled: Climate Change in Africa: Financing Sustainable Pathways for Development at the ongoing Climate Change talks.
She said the solution for climate change lies in Africa because of the opportunity to build renewable infrastructures on the continent.
“Africa should stop playing the victim game. We are not supposed to be going to the West to beg as victims, we should be telling them that the solution is in Africa. Our infrastructures are just developing we have the opportunity to build in a climate friendly way and avoid the mistakes of the developed nations, “she added.
Okonjo-Iweala said African countries should divert funds used in fossil fuel subsidy towards the generation of renewable energy.
Many critics of Western aid say it suffers a number of defects, principally that much of it goes to pay expensive Western consultants or that it is conditional on Nigeria governments doing business with a donor country’s companies.
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