COP26: Osinbajo rallies developed countries to favour Africa


Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says Nigeria expects more developed countries to change the direction of the conversation around energy transition in favour of Africa at the COP26 summit.

The COP26 summit, scheduled to hold in Glasgow, Scotland, from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12, is aimed accelerating action toward the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Friday in Abuja, said the vice president spoke at a virtual panel discussion organised by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change ahead of the summit.

The title of the panel discussion is, “A Just Transition: Balancing Climate Mitigation with Africa’s Development’’.

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Osinbajo was in the panel with the President of Tanzania, Samia Hassan, the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair and the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Dr Vera Songwe.

The vice president said that conversations at the conference must be tilted in favour of Africa.

“The conference will be an opportunity to engage and change the direction of the current conversation, especially as it affects Africa.

“It is an opportunity to talk, to engage and I think that we really need to engage.

“I think we need to just change the direction of the conversation, especially as it affects Africa and then talk in concrete terms about what the implications of net-zero emissions by 2050 or whenever, will mean for Africa and the world.”

The vice president also explained that Nigeria already had a plan for the transition.

“We drew up an energy transition plan and we are probably one of the few developing countries to have drawn up a plan and try to cost the plan; this is why we have the figure of 400 billion dollars.

“If you look at what can work, we are looking at Nigerian Climate Change Finance Facility.

“There’s one which we are working on at the moment with the African Finance Corporation (AFC), and ARM Harith; we are trying to create that facility.

“We think that we could mobilise up to 10 billion dollars to finance local green projects.’’

Osinbajo said that the Federal Government was also on the verge of operationalising an InfraCo, a N15 trillion Infrastructure Fund.

He said the fund could have a dedicated green finance component as well as projects to reduce emissions from main pollutant activities in Nigeria.

“There are other initiatives that we are working on, and one of those is being able to exploit our gas resources for as long as it is possible because it is an important issue for us and thereafter, a diversified economy, especially around technology.

“That would help us a great deal in being able to secure a significant amount of money,” he said.

Earlier, in his submission, Blair called for a new partnership with Africa on Climate Change.

He said that it would be necessary to use gas as a transitional fuel as doing that was essential, not only for development but also for the environment.

“The partnership will also help put the projects for clean energy and development in Africa on an investable footing.

“When people invest in Africa, the rates of returns are very good and the risks are not as great as people think they are.

“It is an important forum to talk about what we really could do in concrete terms.

“I really like the idea of a new partnership with Africa on climate change because a lot of the conversations going on about climate change are over the heads of many of us in Africa because the issues that concern us are not on the table.”

Hassan, in her contributions spoke on the need for developed countries to keep their commitments.

According to her, Africa is expecting the world to come to it for financing so that it can implement the adaptation processes with climate change.

Songwe also said that Africa’s population was 17 per cent of the global population and only 3.8 per cent of the emissions came from Africa.

“About 15 times more emissions come from the U.S., seven times more emissions in China.

“We do need to look at what Africa can do differently for us to have a just, equitable and inclusive transition.

“I think it is important for Africa to take a seat at the table and say, yes, we deserve to have this transition space for gas,” she said.

The event was moderated by Kamissa Camara, the Director of External Affairs and Policy, Africa, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. (NAN)

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