Yemi Osinbajo
Yemi Osinbajo

VP Osinbajo presses for more climate support for African countries at threat of energy poverty

NEWS DIGEST – Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo has said a global energy transition isn’t truly possible without first accommodating the struggles of developing countries, especially African countries that are at risk of energy poverty.

The global energy transition is an infrastructure to facilitate the energy shift from fossil fuels to clean energy sources such as renewables.

Although a pact was agreed upon to pledge a trillion-dollar yearly from 2025 to developing countries at the 26th Conference of Parties in Glasgow last November, Mr Osinbanjo argued that a case could still be made on the standards that developing countries are treated to compared to their more affluent counterparts.

“We are already seeing the investment rules limit the technology choices of African countries in ways that do not apply to wealthy nations,” Mr Osinbanjo said at a climate event organised by The Atlantic Council.

“Applying a set of standards to Africa that you can’t apply in your own country is the opposite of climate justice.”

Osinbanjo, who spoke on ‘Climate Finance and a Just, Equitable Energy Transition for Africa’, said the priorities of nations who contribute the least to climate emissions should not be sidelined and anything less would be climate injustice.

“It must include investments, not only to mitigate carbon emissions but also to ensure that developing countries can adapt to the impacts of climate change caused by the rich polluting nations,” he said.

“Climate justice must include ending energy poverty,” he added.

About 90 million persons in Nigeria—nearly 50%—do not have access to grid electricity and those who do have less than 12 hours of electricity each day, according to data from the Rural Electrification Agency in 2020.

A large proportion of African countries are suffering worse energy poverty than Nigeria which has condemned many citizens to lack access to investment opportunities.

With only seven months to November’s UN climate change summit in Egypt, Mr Osinbanjo notes that a big part of achieving the consensus goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is to help countries with grave energy needs raise their energy profile.

He said: “Every person on the planet deserves to have modern energy. Every person deserves a job. All modern economies require abundant affordable and reliable energy.

“And with the impacts of climate change bearing down on us, every nation must have enough energy to build resilient infrastructure, deliver essential public services, and provide the cooling and air conditioning to withstand a warming planet.”

For a country like Nigeria, and the continent of Africa, still working around the clock to grant citizens access to modern energy services, Mr Osinbanjo said there can be no equivocation on what a just and equitable energy transition might mean.

“For us, a Just Transition means a lot more energy, not less,” he said.