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AFD stakes $70m for renewable energy dev’t in Nigeria

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AFD stakes m for renewable energy dev’t in Nigeria

By Rukayat Moisemhe

The French Development Agency (AFD) has leveraged a total of US $ 70 million to finance renewable energy and efficient energy projects in Nigeria.

Mr. Chukwudumije Igwe, Member, Project and Structured Fice, Sub Sahara Africa, Access Bank, said this at the second edition of the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Energy Program (SUNREF) Nigeria Investor Conference Thursday in Lagos.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that AFD’s US $ 70 million fund was to be disbursed jointly by Access Bank Plc and United Bank for Africa (UBA).

Igwe said the fund should meet Nigeria’s energy needs and reduce environmental pollution.

He said that SUNREF is committed to sponsoring innovative, technically eligible, energy efficient and renewable projects.

“SUNREF is a fund made available by AFD to support renewable and energy-efficient projects.

“Access Bank is one of the disbursing banks and we look forward to reviewing and accessing projects that meet the eligibility and risk criteria.

“The total fund size is US $ 70 million and has been shared between Access Bank and UBA and we are looking for eligible projects to disburse this fund.

“We know that a large part of the SUNREF project is made up of energy and renewable energy projects and we know how critical infrastructure is for Nigeria and the federal government cannot do it alone.

“The private sector is essential and we also know that closing this gap would involve the private sector and development finance institutions.

“That is why it is very critical and we hope the fund will fill a large part of the country’s infrastructure deficit,” he said.

The team leader, SUNREF Nigeria, Mr. Javier Betancourt, noted that the renewable energy sector has so far remained forgotten by officials.

He said the event was to bring together investors, manufacturers and business leaders to have a conversation to address issues in the renewable energy sector regarding fication and policies.

Betancourt said access to the tax authorities to finance renewable energy projects required long-term funding not available in the country.

However, he stressed that the sector had become a more important subject, hence the involvement of banks in the matter.

“The US $ 70 million is largely not enough, but a start because what Nigeria needs is billions as more than 80 million people in Nigeria are not electrified at all while the remaining 100 million are somewhat electrified.

“The investment required is huge and $ 70 million isn’t even starting to cover it, but it helps get things going.

“This fund that we are providing will be for the longer term with a minimum of five years and it is concessional loan rates that would help tie up these projects.

“It is difficult to estimate the exact amount the country needs from the renewable energy sector to fill the country’s energy gap, but I can say that Nigeria needs an additional 14 GW of energy, an investment of about $ 10 billion in total.

“$ 70 million is a drop in the ocean, but it’s a big drop because it will help this sector get the proper funding,” he said.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otuba Adeniyi Adebayo, represented by the Deputy Director of Industrial Development, Mr. John Opaluwa, reaffirmed the ministry’s commitment to attract investors to the country to stimulate industrial activities and economic growth.

He reaffirmed the need for economic leaders to prioritize substantial investments in the implementation of renewable energy solutions and energy efficiency measures.

“Rapid population growth and increased industrial activities have led to a significant increase in energy consumption, resulting in increased environmental pollution and economic hardship.

“Renewable energies help assess alternative energy sources that are more sustainable and reduce dependence on fossil fuels,” he said.

The President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr Mansur Ahmed, said the poor state of energy services over the years had limited the manufacturing sector, resulting in low levels of competitiveness globally.

Ahmed, welcoming the initiative, said it would lower the cost of doing business in the country and urged manufacturers to take advantage of the financing facility.

Source: NAN

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