Chief executive officer and special representative of the UN secretary general for Sustainable Energy for All, and Co-Chair of UN-Energy, Damilola Ogunbiyi and recently appointed World Bank president Ajay Banga, have met with private sector leaders in Abuja, in a show of their shared commitments towards mobilising finance for African countries’ energy, climate and development goals.
The visit to Abuja, a first for Banga in his upcoming role as President of the World Bank, is a clear, tangible step towards realizing the mandate of the World Bank’s new Private Sector Investment Lab, which was recently announced in June this year.
In order to mobilize capital more effectively, the Lab identifies and focuses on specific approaches that can be implemented and scaled by the World Bank. This is with the goal of increasing private finance. The Lab is chaired by Banga, and Ogunbiyi is one of its founding members.
The duo met with private investors during a roundtable focused on the role of the private sector in delivering universal energy access.
They both highlighted the wide spectrum of investment opportunities in both grid-based and distributed renewable energy (DRE) solutions that exist in Nigeria and across Africa.
Among the topics discussed was the catalytic role the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan (ETP) has played in attracting private sector investment in energy and infrastructure projects in the country.
Nigeria launched its ETP in August 2022, becoming the first African nation to formulate a comprehensive strategy that seeks to help the nation transition from harmful fossil fuels to renewable, clean energy; achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7); and attain net-zero emissions by 2060.
Accordingly, a dedicated Energy Transition Office supported by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) has been established to drive the plan’s activation and has secured a substantial investment pipeline of $3.8 billion dedicated to Nigeria’s energy transition initiatives.
The initiative, so far, has engaged with over 200 local and international partners, providing technical assistance to the Nigerian government regarding electric vehicles (EVs) and solarisation among other projects.
Accompanied by managing director of the Nigeria Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, Banga, Ogunbiyi and investors also visited innovative clean energy projects near Abuja to showcase the progress made and the high chance of replicating these achievements across the country.
“Renewable energy solutions hold the key to a sustainable future, and I am pleased that the World Bank, through Ajay Banga’s leadership, is focused on scaling transition finance in renewable energy and infrastructure in the Global South while addressing the barriers preventing private sector investment in emerging markets,” said Ogunbiyi who also is CEO and Special Representative of the UN secretary general for Sustainable Energy for All, and co-chair of UN-Energy.
“At SEforALL, we are ready to provide expertise and support towards catalysing private capital to close energy access gaps and achieve a clean energy transition,” she added.
Ogunbiyi noted that as Nigeria, like many other nations in the world, embarks on a critical energy transition journey to tackle the pressing challenges of energy poverty and climate change, it has become imperative to highlight the broad spectrum of investment opportunities in renewable energy solutions in the country, and that the private sector can help drive innovation, accelerate infrastructure development, and promote the adoption of renewable energy solutions in Nigeria.