By Bukar Bolori
Vice President Kashim Shettima has said Nigeria’s huge potentials in digital technology, the outsourcing industry and the clean energy sector will continue to incentivize investments in its energy transition plan and agenda to diversify the economy.
Shettima in a statement issued by his Spokesman, Stanley Nkwocha stated this on Monday when he received Denmark’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, Mr Dan Jorgensen, on a courtesy visit to the presidential villa.
Shedding light on Nigeria’s climate objectives under the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Vice President noted that investments in digital technology, clean energy and other sectors had become a priority as a result of the dwindling fortunes of the oil economy.
Sen. Shettima said, “We are facing challenges but where there is a will, there is a way.The President is a man imbued with passion, intellect and capacity to lead the nation on the path of prosperity and progress. He really wants to bring a new lease of life to the Nigerian nation because if Nigeria works, Africa works.
“Oil will still be relevant because of its other derivatives for the next decades but as the primary driver of the economy, the role of oil will diminish in the coming years. This is why it is a priority for us to think out of the box to find alternatives. This is why we are looking for investments in digital technology, clean energy and other sectors. We have a lot of opportunities for partnership and collaboration.”
VP Shettima identified the strength of Nigeria’s population as a huge resource for the transformation of Africa, noting that the continent’s transformation could be fast-tracked by green and sustainable energy.
Soliciting the support of the Danish Government and the Global Centre on Adaptation for Africa and Nigeria’s Climate Action, the VP maintained that “once there is sustainable energy, the people of the continent will key into Africa’s development aspirations.
“So, I will solicit your understanding and support to save Africa,” he added, stating that the support of the Centre is necessary to accelerate climate action and fast-track adaptation to solutions, focusing on the most vulnerable people in Africa.
The Vice President commended Denmark for its leading role in global climate action, while soliciting the support of the government of that country.
“With our shared humanity, we are facing real existential threats but we are very proud of Denmark because of its climate consciousness. You are doing well. There is room for us to have a mutually beneficial partnership,” he stated.
VP Shettima further delved into the political instability in parts of West Africa, saying Nigeria has taken a firm position against military coups and to defend the cause of democracy and human rights, noting that “Nigeria is actually the beacon of hope and stability in a turbulent region.”
Earlier, the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, Jorgensen, expressed his admiration for Nigeria’s leadership and commitment to climate sustainability.
He noted that Nigeria’s leadership role in addressing regional stability and its commitment to a just energy transition present significant opportunities for further collaboration between Denmark and Nigeria.
“We cherish the relationship between Denmark and Nigeria very highly. We are extremely impressed with the agenda of the new administration. You are definitely showing leadership in the way you are facing the challenges of your country,” Jorgensen said.
Emphasising the shared understanding between Denmark and Nigeria on the importance of climate action, he said,”We also share a common understanding that common understanding and climate sustainability is a political question that is not only noble but also working.
”The Danish Minister commended Nigeria’s stability and positive influence in a region often facing challenges.
“I also want to commend Nigeria for being a stable country doing a lot of positive difference in a region that is sometimes challenging,” he stated.
Jorgensen drew a stark contrast between Nigeria’s stability and the recent coup experienced in neighboring Niger, saying, “Just six months ago, I visited Niger Republic and we signed a memorandum of understanding with the President; only for a few weeks later, the country experienced a coup.”
Applauding Nigeria’s role in advocating for the restoration of civilian rule in Niger, he said, “We definitely commend Nigeria’s role in trying to put pressure on the coup leaders with regards to reinstating the civilian government”.
He expressed optimism about the future of collaboration between Denmark and Nigeria on energy transition, citing the memorandum of understanding to be signed between the two countries, just as he emphasised the importance of ensuring a just transition in the shift towards renewable energy sources.
“At the core of this is the question of how do we make this a just transition; how do we make sure that the people that are dependent on oil and gas don’t lose their jobs there?” He inquired.
To ensure a just transition, Jorgensen advocated a regular assessment of the needs of vulnerable groups, stressing that “the needs of poor, vulnerable and marginalized groups must be assessed regularly to ensure reliable access to clean energy at affordable prices”.
He implored Vice President Shettima to ensure that the memorandum of understanding is signed to serve as a framework for future collaboration between Denmark and Nigeria on energy transition.
Also speaking, Nigeria’s Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, said the ministry is using messaging to take forward a lot of the initiatives that the government has put on ground.
“When we talk about climate change, we should be responsible enough to keep the preservation of the world for the next generation to benefit from it.
“Climate change is at the very top of our agenda as a government, especially now that Nigeria is at the precipice of being at the very top. We want to see how Nigeria and the Danish government can have cross-collaboration in this regard and also intercultural collaborations,” she said.
Present at the meeting were Amb. Sune Krogstrup, Canadian Ambassador to Nigeria; Amb. Ole Thonke, Understand-Secretary of State; Sandra Sichlau, Private Secretary to the Minister; Mr Ketil Karlsen, Head of Africa Department and Ida Krogh Mikkelsen, Special Adviser, among others.