Vice President Kashim Shettima has solicited the support of the Danish government and the Global Centre on adaptation for Africa and Nigeria’s climate action.
Stanley Nkwocha, senior special assistant to the President, media and communications, Office of the Vice President, made this known in a statement on Monday in Abuja.
Mr Shettima spoke when he received Denmark’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, Dan Jorgensen, on a courtesy visit to the presidential villa.
According to him, 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. 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.
“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.
He said Nigeria’s huge potential in digital technology, the outsourcing industry and the clean energy sector would continue to incentivize investments in its energy transition plan and agenda to diversify the economy.
Mr Shettima noted that investments in digital technology, clean energy and other sectors had become a priority to President Bola Tinubu’s administration as a result of the dwindling fortunes of the oil economy.
“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,” the vice president said.
Mr 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.
On political instability in some parts of West Africa, he said Nigeria has taken a firm position against military coups.
Mr Shettima also said that Nigeria stood firm to defend the cause of democracy and human rights, saying,” Nigeria is actually the beacon of hope and stability in a turbulent region.”
Earlier, Mr 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.
“We also share a common understanding that common understanding and climate sustainability is a political question not only noble but also working.”
He commended Nigeria’s stability and positive influence in a region often facing challenges.
“I also want to commend Nigeria for being a stable country making a lot of positive difference in a region that is sometimes challenging,” he stated.
Mr Jorgensen drew a stark contrast between Nigeria’s stability and the recent coup experienced in neighbouring Niger Republic.
He said, “Just six months ago, I visited Niger Republic and we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the President; only a few weeks later, the country experienced a coup.”
He applauded Nigeria’s role in advocating for the restoration of civilian rule in Niger.
“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.
He emphasised the need for the signing of an MoU between the two countries to ensure a just transition in the shift towards renewable energy sources.
“At the core of this is the question of how to 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.
Mr Jorgensen called for a regular assessment of the needs of vulnerable groups.
“The needs of poor, vulnerable and marginalised groups must be assessed regularly to ensure reliable access to clean energy at affordable prices.”
He implored the vice president to ensure that the memorandum of understanding is signed to serve as a framework for future collaboration between Norway and Nigeria on energy transition.