VP’s Remarks At The Signing Of Energy Africa Agreement In The UK

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I don’t think there is much more to say,  I think a lot has been said already and most of the ground has been covered, especially the fact that the dramatic objective of this is that we could actually bring universal energy in Africa forward, by as many as 50 years. Now that is just absolutely incredible and who could have thought that this was possible just 20 years ago, even 10 years ago, with the cost of solar power, it just didn’t seem possible and all of a sudden, the combination of innovation and technology and of course the lower cost of solar power, has just made this all the more possible. And I think that for most of us who live and work in Africa, this is an incredible opportunity. Nigeria for example has over 96 million people who have no access to power and most homes, of course, use kerosene with its environmental and other safety issues.


The default energy source of course is, for us, should be solar but that option was not really available for so long but now it’s cheaper, safer and certainly more environmentally friendly.


Besides, there is a great opportunity for investment, you know and with the boom in mobile technology, we found so many young Nigerians buying and selling recharge cards for mobile phones. And I can actually see it already, that there will be a very great thriving business in either scratch cards or some other manner of payment. I think the mobile payment system, frankly I think that scratch cards will probably work a lot faster back in Nigeria and I can see so many people getting ready to do that.


I think the Nigerian residential market provides the strongest opportunity for the use of small-scale solar solutions and I think that Nigeria will be that ideal base to Spark the solar revolution in Africa but the challenges are probably as clear as the prospects but thankfully not insurmountable. How do the extremely poor pay for the systems? What sort of payment arrangements will satisfactorily keep the systems coming to the numbers that require them?


How do we create the enabling environment to deepen the markets for solar power and indeed other forms of clean energy? Solutions, of course, must be nuanced enough to take locational peculiarities into account, there cannot always be a one size fits all solution, which is why an alliance such as we are creating today, consisting of partners, countries, donors, solar energy companies is important in being able to develop and test ideas and best practices.


A partnership with the DFID on solar energy has been very successful; there is a huge project for schools in Lagos, several hundred schools in Lagos already use solar power and several primary health care centers. The interesting opportunity is for residential accommodation using solar power and I think that in the next and of course in Kaduna State in the north, the Governor of Kaduna State is here, there’s also a lot and this also shows the use of solar power is seeking us to develop a solar framework for the commercial market.


I’m here to underscore Nigeria’s commitment to the regional and national efforts to improve accessibility to power, especially solar power for our people. And on behalf of our President, President Muhammadu Buhari, I want to show you that we will work very closely with Grant, as a matter of fact, who has a choice but to work with Grant, I mean I think his energy and his enthusiasm is so infectious and I want to thank you for the great work that you started and we will certainly be with you all of the way to make sure that we realize all of the objectives of this great campaign.


Thank you all very much.

23rd October 2015