GEAPP High-level Press Event Announcing Prof. Osinbajo As A Global Advisor
SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, IMMEDIATE PAST VICE PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA AT A HIGH-LEVEL PRESS EVENT ANNOUNCING HIM AS A GLOBAL ADVISOR TO GLOBAL ENERGY ALLIANCE FOR PEOPLE AND PLANET (GEAPP), HOSTED IN COLLABORATION WITH THE CEO OF GEAPP, SIMON HARFORD, AT WHEATBAKER HOTEL IN LAGOS ON THE 11TH OF JULY, 2023
Distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen, it is an absolute pleasure for me to be a part of this event that seeks to draw attention to energy transition on a global level, with a particular focus on developing countries and the ongoing efforts of the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) in ensuring that this transition is not only seamless but also inclusive, with clean energy access for all.
The stark reality of climate change and its devastating impact on the world around us is no longer news. The consequences of our struggle with climate change are far-reaching, affecting nations across the globe with devastating wildfires in the United States; shrinking glaciers in Mounts Kenya and Kilimanjaro, menacing floods and droughts in Nigeria; and soaring temperatures and flash floods in south Asia, all serving as further proof that this conversation is more than a theory, it is a reality that affects the livelihoods and overall well-being of millions across the world.
These events have created a global sense of urgency, placing us at a critical moment that requires innovative and pragmatic climate-centred solutions that put the people first — not just for us today, but for future generations and the planet. Against this backdrop, it became imperative for us to critically analyse the way we approach energy from production to consumption.
Although energy continues to serve as an indispensable tool for the development of vibrant economies, the prevalent use of fossil-fuel products is responsible for producing 70% of the world’s carbon emissions, with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) projecting a 50% increase by 2050 if a cleaner energy pathway is not adopted.
These conversations have highlighted the need for a global energy transition from fossil-fueled based products to more sustainable and ecologically-friendly energy options. That being said, it would be remiss of us to ignore the current inequities developing countries face concerning energy access at different levels.
Over 1.3 billion people in Africa are serviced by an installed electricity capacity of about 244 Gigawatts, less than the 248 Gigawatts currently serving Germany’s population of 83 million. Similarly, Caribbean Island residents pay some of the highest retail electricity prices in the world, between $0.20/kWh and $0.50/kWh, compared to $0.13/kWh in the US.
These comparisons are necessary as they remind us that while developed countries have almost 100% energy access, most developing countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean still grapple with energy poverty, which stunts productive capacity and poses a danger to people’s lives. So as the world works towards decarbonisation, developing countries cannot be left behind again. Energy transition is not efficient if it is not inclusive and just.
But there are also unique opportunities for developing economies especially Africa in the transition journey. It is evident that given its huge renewable energy resources, the largest carbon sinks in the world, enormous natural resources and a large youth population, we can be the solution to climate change. First, by forbearing to grow along the carbon-intensive pathway of wealthier economies and adopting climate-positive growth policies, we play a critical role in ensuring that global net zero is possible by 2050. Second, climate action can indeed be the job engine for Africa.
Africa could lead the way in tackling climate change by leveraging its renewable energy potential, young workforce, green technologies, carbon removal and green manufacturing. In other words, Africa can provide jobs for millions of its young people, prosper and lead in the fight against climate change by becoming perhaps the first green or carbon-free civilisation. And we have the comparative advantage to do so. But building this climate-positive growth future in the context of a just energy future that includes energy access at all levels and drives economic growth in developing countries requires international consensus, collaboration and investment.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) and Bloomberg have estimated that annual clean energy investment must more than triple to $4 -7 trillion by 2030 to achieve the 2050 net zero emission that most countries have committed to. However, in 2021, only one-fifth of global investment in clean energy went to emerging and developing countries which account for two-thirds of the world’s population.
Bridging this gap between developing countries and energy access has been a core focus of the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) since it was founded in 2021. As Vice President, I worked extensively with the team towards creating a pathway that ensures Nigeria achieves its goal of net zero emissions by 2060. This work eventually resulted in Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan (ETP), a data-based, strategic, clean energy transition plan in Africa, and the Energy Transition Office, which works tirelessly towards successfully implementing the plan. The twin problem of energy access and climate change simply cannot be solved independently by developing countries. I saw this first-hand while working on Nigeria’s decarbonisation journey plan. We need partners at different levels.
The Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) has partnership at its core, not just the 20 Alliance partners including the Ikea Foundation, the Bezos Earth Fund, the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and USAID, amongst other multi-lateral and development finance institutions, but in terms of the broader global movement for positive change GEAPP is building. There is still much to be done with the current energy transition to preserve the planet. This transition process affords us the opportunity to address climate change and expand energy access for all, regardless of their geographical location or socio-economic background.
I am convinced that we can have both, which is why I look forward to working with GEAPP and the broader Alliance, to support developing countries and make this possible.
Thank you for your attention.