During a panel discussion at the ongoing COP28 climate change conference on Saturday in Dubai, President Bola Tinubu emphasised the need for alternative energy investments for African countries to transition away from fossil fuels conveniently.
“How do you tell a grandmother to stop using firewood to prepare her food?” Tinubu asked. “It is for me to invest in solar energy, alternative energy.”
The Nigerian leader said that while there is an urgent need to address climate change and “heal the bleeding earth,” African countries also desperately need new investments to help them adapt to the global transition to renewable energy.
“Yes, we have the market and sufficient housing that you can electrify with solar panels. There is iron ore; there is investment there, too,” Tinubu said.
“Risk management is very key for Africa. The opportunities must be translated sooneest. We are moving forward with urgency, and we will maximize the value given in return for those resources,” he added.
The president, during the panel on African Green Industrialization hosted by the COP28 Presidency and the President of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, stressed that Nigeria and Africa require significant investments in clean energy infrastructure in order to fully move away from dependence on fossil fuels.
Without providing alternatives, he suggested it was unrealistic to expect citizens to change entrenched habits.
“Global manufacturers must partner with us to invest in the health of our collective environment,” Tinubu urged.
“Africa doubles as an unrivaled opportunity in this respect. We are removing all obstacles that are inhibiting progress as Africa’s largest economy. The investment environment is becoming cleaner and better.”
Tinubu said Africa contributes the least to climate change but faces an outsized economic burden from the global transition to renewable energy and green technologies.
He added that the continent must not be victimized amid the disruptions caused by climate change mitigation efforts worldwide.
“But how will Africa not be a victim of all these changes? How do we get value for our resources. We all agree that the earth is crying for healing, but how do you tell a grandmother to stop using firewood to prepare her food? It is for me to invest in solar energy, alternative energy.
“Here, you must encourage investment, and equally consider: how would this investment affect us? Yes, we have the market and sufficient housing that you can electrify with solar panels. There is iron ore; there is investment there, too. Risk management is very key for Africa. The opportunities must be translated sooneest. We are moving forward with urgency, and we will maximize the value given in return for those resources,” the President affirmed.
Tinubu affirmed Nigeria’s commitment to urgent climate action but said real progress requires reciprocal investments in Africa to help countries leverage their massive potential to contribute to the new global green economy.
COP28, otherwise known as the Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, is the 28th UN Climate Change conference being held from November 30 to December 12 at the Expo City, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
COP conferences are held for governments to agree on policies to limit rising global temperature and adapt to impacts associated with climate change.