Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice-President of Nigeria has called for the right for Africa to manufacture its own vaccines and to use gas to transition out of fuel.
Osinbajo made this demand while speaking virtually at the World Economic Forum’s annual “Davos Agenda” for 2022 held in Geneva, Switzerland. He said Nigeria is probably the first country in Africa to develop an energy transition plan and to cost it out.
According to the Vice President, the plan will be launched in the next couple of weeks and will connect 5 million homes to solar power which will require more foreign investment in manufacturing panels and components.
What Osinbajo is saying
The Vice President said one of the biggest shocks for many gas-rich African countries is the notion that fossil fuels including gas should be defunded, especially by international financial institutions.
While advocating for the acceptance of natural gas, he said renewable energy is also a unique opportunity for foreign investors in Nigeria. He said substituting fuel for gas is important in order to help boost the economy.
“We think that gas as a transition fuel is absolutely crucial, not just for an effective transition but also for our economies. Without doubt, the only pathway for Africa to transition out of more hazardous fuels such as coal and heavy oils,” Osinbajo said.
Speaking on the pandemic, Osinbajo said accessing the COVID-19 vaccines continues to pose a serious problem for Africa as fewer than 10% of Africa’s population is fully vaccinated in most countries. He said patent waivers are vital to let Africa manufacture its own vaccines.
He called on developed economies to honor their long-standing pledge to provide $100 billion annually in climate finance to developing countries.
According to Osinbajo, the price tag for vaccinating the entire world is just $50 billion, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
“This is affordable but we should not allow this opportunity to slip through the cracks. Now is a good time to test global will in building international cooperation to prepare for new, possibly worse pandemics to come,” Osinbajo said.
The Vice President also said that the sub-Saharan economy grew by 3.7% in 2021 and is projected to continue this trajectory into 2022. Nigeria’s National Development Plan 2021-2025 envisages investments totalling $840 billion, of which 86% is expected to come from the private sector.
The Vice President added “In the next three decades, the global population will swell by 2 billion people; 1 billion of those will come from Africa, which now has the world’s fastest-growing working-age population. “Africa has the potential to become the factory of the world.”
What you should know
According to the World Economic Forum, the Davos Agenda 2022 is the focal point at the start of the year for leaders to share their outlook, insights and plans relating to the most urgent global issues.
The meeting provides a platform to accelerate the partnerships needed to tackle shared challenges and shape a more sustainable and inclusive future.