How Nigeria can become green industrial powerhouse

The terminology ‘Green industrial economy’ does not resonate with many Nigerians, particularly because the country presently, at best, is a green industrial upstart.

The country is confronted with a myriad of climate-related challenges, stemming from the encroachment of rising sea levels on coastal regions to devastating floods impacting agriculture and displacing communities, carbon emissions and pollution, among others.

President Bola Tinubu acknowledges persistent hurdles due to conflicts in Europe and the Middle East, affecting energy and food security, impeding cooperation from wealthier nations to support sustainability efforts in less developed economies.

The Federal Government , therefore, seeks strategic partnerships and increased investments, and actively pursues private capital and support from international initiatives including the Climate Finance Leadership Initiative and global infrastructure programmes.

The question agitating the minds of many discerning individuals now is can the Federal
Government achieve growth in employment and income, driven by public and private investment into such economic activities, infrastructure and assets that allow reduced carbon emissions and pollution, enhanced energy and resource efficiency, and prevention of the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services?.

The good news is that experts believe that this is achievable and Nigeria can, indeed, become a green industrial powerhouse in the foreseeable future.

But for that to happen, Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, Professor in Global Governance and Public Policy, University of Bristol, says Nigeria will have to scale up climate finance.

He says the Federal Government must as a matter of necessity establish a clear policy framework or strengthen the existing one.

Okereke says Nigeria can also create incentive for renewable energy, efficient use of green infrastructure development and the strengthening of the mechanism of governance to ensure transparency, accountability and the efficient use of climate finance.

ccording to him, there is also the need to develop financial instruments tailored to local needs such as green bonds that can attract domestic and foreign investors.

Okereke, who is also an expert in Climate Justice, Green Growth, Climate Policy and Low Carbon Development in Africa, said that the government could leverage public funds to attract private investment.

‘One of the ways to do this is to de-risk an investment so that private sector investors can put their money there with a guarantee that if anything happens, government will come to their aid,’ he said.

The don says the government can also identify and prioritise sectors that have the highest potential for climate impact and economic development.

He advises the government to strengthen partnerships by fostering strong collaboration between government and international donors and NGOs.

The don notes that if the country is to get it right in attracting climate finance, it has to put its house in order.

‘The government should make sure that the
right people are appointed; those who know what they are doing. They should not be playing politics in this sector.

‘The international partners know when we are serious and when we are not serious,’ Okereke adds.

Also, Ms Helen Brume, Director for Project Finance and Assets Based Finance at Afreximbank, says that to attract climate finance to the country, the government must put in place appropriate regulatory framework that allows investors to recoup their investments in a sustainable way.

Brume says political stability and appropriate infrastructure are required to attract investors into the climate finance ecosystem.

For the Executive Director of Climate Action Africa, Ms Grace Mbah, the ability to prepare bankable projects is needed to attract climate finance.

According to her, Nigeria has been trying to access the Green Climate Funds (GCF) for a couple of years, adding that some of the procedures are strict because they want their funds to really meet their target.

To become a green industrial powe
rhouse, Mr Taiwo Adewole, an Environmental Consultant, agrees that the Federation Government must encourage and scale up private sector investment for climate and nature.

He says there is a need to shift capital investment in linear economy and encourage circular economy through private sector mobilisation.

‘Another step is collaboration and partnership with international institutions.

‘The new mechanisms expected to be put in place to achieve transparency and innovative application of available resources are the steps the government is taking already.

‘This is by setting up the Presidential Committee on Climate Change and various appointments related to climate finance.

‘If the committee is given a free hand to operate, it would attract investment capital from the public or private, national or international, bilateral or multilateral,’ he said.

He adds that the Climate Finance Committee should not just be on paper but practical and attract higher rating for the country.

As part of the new mechanism t
o fast track the Federal Government’s climate initiatives, President Bola Tinubu appointed Chief Ajuri Ngelale, as the Special Presidential Envoy on Climate Action (SPEC), and followed it up with the establishment of the Presidential Committee on Climate Change.

Ngelale, who has hit the ground running, believes that through cooperation between Nigeria and international partners, Nigeria can become a green industrial powerhouse over the next ten years.

Ngelale had a productive meeting with the U.S. Head of Delegation to the United Nations Climate Conference and Principal Deputy Special Envoy for Climate, Ms. Sue Biniaz, in Bonn, Germany, in June.

‘We shared views concerning tangible next steps to be taken toward leveraging large-scale climate financing instruments to drive Nigeria’s green industrial agenda in the years ahead.

‘We have much work to do in the form of putting in place new mechanisms to achieve a truly transparent and innovative application of available resources to meet our objective of attra
cting new and de-risked investment capital from around the world.

‘I am confident that we have the team to deliver on this for the country. One step at a time,’ Ngelale said.

He had said the U.S. Principal Deputy Special Envoy for Climate was joined in the meeting by Mr Trigg Talley, who serves as the Managing Director for Negotiations and Director for the U.S. State Department’s Office of Global Change.

Indeed, the Federal Government is not taking the climate action lightly. During the COP28 World Climate Action Summit in Dubai, President Tinubu reiterated the far-reaching implications of climate change on the West Africa’s most pressing issues.

The President has also demonstrated his commitment to reinvigorating a cleaner and more resilient nation.

Nigeria’s proactive stance toward a greener global landscape was underscored by the launch of the Carbon Market Initiative, a testament to its dedication to sustainability.

The country’s participation in the African Carbon Market Initiative further reinforc
es its commitment towards environmental responsibility, showcasing a readiness to engage in global climate solutions.

President Tinubu emphasises the imperative for partnerships to foster a green economy in Africa.

Leveraging resources like the EU’s Global Gateway programme and the US Build Back Better World initiative is critical for sustainable development and global market access.

Advocating for fairness and cooperation, President Tinubu urges developed nations to honour their commitments, especially contributing to the Loss and Damage Fund and the 100 billion dollars annual climate financing pledge.

With appropriate partnerships, collaboration, investments, and initiatives already in place, Nigeria is certainly on its way to becoming a notable green industrial nation.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria