Uninterrupted power supply has continued to be a major problem for Nigeria and most sub-Saharan African countries. The time, therefore, has come for Nigeria, in particular and Africa, in general to find a lasting solution to this perennial problem.

So many ideas have been propounded on how Nigeria and Africa can solve this problem and plug the energy deficit. The alternative that seems to be gaining ground and has become very attractive to so many African countries is Solar and renewable power – a development that has put the hydrocarbon oil and gas producers and stakeholders on their toes, so much so that some of them have started investing in alternative energy. Take Nigeria for example, it has in the past several administrations spent an estimated sum of $20 billion on improving its power deficit, still with almost nothing to show for the expenditure. And that is why Africa’s largest economy and other African countries are now thinking about using alternative sources to solve its energy problem.

In its 3rd consecutive Summit, Africa Today has decided to bring all stakeholders together for this two-day summit in Abuja, Nigeria. The summit will look at various ways to remedy the problem and accelerate the development of Africa’s emerging solar market, working with Governments, investors, NGO’s think tanks, the business community and other donors. The key players in the OIL & GAS INDUSTRY in Nigeria some of whom have been investing in alternative sources of energy will also use this summit as a platform to present their response. Other African countries such as Morocco have made appreciable progress in the introduction of solar energy. It is also encouraging to note that some states in Nigeria like Katsina and Osun are leading in signing solar power deals. The present Katsina government led by Governor Aminu Maisari has promised to do even better than the previous government in investing in solar energy in the state. Two firms are expected to invest about $280 million to generate 175 megawatt of solar power in the state. Pan African Solar will invest $130 million for 75MW, while Nova Solar is investing $150 million for 100MW. Both projects to be sited in Kankia, according to Dikko Radda, chief of staff to Governor Maisari. Also the Osun state government led by Governor Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has reportedly signed a €35 million solar plant agreement with French company, Vergnet, for building of a solar power plant and training component to encourage transfer of technology. The agreement is the first of its kind in Nigeria. And the Vergnet Katsina plant, which will produce 13MW of electricity, is a big solar plant and the first of such magnitude in Nigeria. With these commitments, Nigeria seems ready to open its market for alternative source of energy. The 2017 Africa Today Summit will also therefore look at how other states in Nigeria can benefit from financing initiatives from banks like the Bank of Industry (BoI), the Infrastructure Bank PLC, and the Stanbic IBTC to provide low-cost, off-grid solar energy solution. For instance, the BoI initiative, in conjunction with Schneider Electric, Green Village Electricity (GVE) Projects Limited and Arnergy Solar Limited, is to be made available in six states including Gombe, Kaduna, Anambra, Delta, Niger, and Osun.


The Summit will therefore try to examine:
  1. How Nigeria and Africa can make the best use of the $15 billion initiative to expand renewable energy capacity in the continent announced by the former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris December 2015?
  2. How, the traditional hydrocarbon industry players are reacting to the renewable agenda and the investments some of them have already started to make on it.
  3. How saving energy is a “triple-win” in the battle against global warming.
  4. How clean and renewable energy can help in ending extreme poverty across Nigeria and Africa?
  5. How Africa, Nigeria in particular, can take advantage of renewable energy technologies that are now becoming cheaper and more competitive?
  6. How Africans can start to get wide and easy access to energy through solar panels, wind turbines or small hydro power plant?
"Saving energy is a triple-win solution. It can save money, reduce emissions, and provide additional energy capacity,” according to former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

More than 100 banks and a group of investors, managing close to $4 trillion in assets, are committed to a major increase in energy efficiency lending in their portfolios. Led by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the UNEP Finance Initiative, this is a major undertaking toward the four-fold increase needed to realize the full energy efficiency potential for climate change. What homegrown finance initiatives can African, indeed Nigerian, banks like the Bank of Industry, the Infrastructure Bank PLC, Stanbic IBTC and others provide in their own portfolios?


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Speaking opportunities*
Kayode Soyinka

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