Path to green industrialisation in Nigeria
With world leaders exploring opportunities offered through climate negotiations, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and Bank of Industry (BoI) have stated that Nigeria and other African countries can leverage opportunities from climate change to engineer a new era of industrialisation that can drive clean economic growth, create sustainable jobs and reduce poverty.
Indeed, the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Carlos Lopes, according to a statement at the African Pavilion at COP 21, asserted that the rapid economic growth experienced by many African countries over the last decade comes despite major challenges that other continents have not had to face, such as complexities around intellectual property and more sophisticated trade regulations.
According to him, “Africa is industrialising in an environment where achieving growth is more challenging. Windows that were open for other continents, enabling them to industrialise quickly and easily, are now closed for Africa.”
On his part, the Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BoI), Rasheed Olaoluwa during a facility tour of some factories in Ogun state, advocated adoption of smart technology and renewable energy as part of measures to improve efficiency, protect environment and compete globally.
He explained that deploying smart technology in the production of goods would further aid the competitiveness of many manufacturing firms in terms of cost saving measures and product quality guarantee.
Lopes noted that that: “However, in these seemingly adverse conditions lie clear opportunities which Africa can readily harness.
As a latecomer, Africa can take immediate advantage of the new technologies that have been put in place over the last ten years.
Africa has, for example, asserted itself as the leader in mobile banking technologies. In the same way, the continent is well placed to capitalise on new advances in renewable energy infrastructure and technologies.
“We have the potential to access renewable energy at a time when the price for producing this energy is comparable to fossil fuel production. Industrialised countries will have to retrofit older infrastructure to harness the sector’s vast potential. Africa, however, is not married to any technological platform and is ready to leapfrog to these new, efficient and more sophisticated technologies.”
The UNECA observed that with a rapidly growing population – set to reach 2 billion by 2050 – Africa will have an immense labour force ready to support this growth, adding that by capitalising on these new technologies, Africa is poised to be the first continent to industrialise through powering renewable energy potential.
Olaoluwa added that the bank has invested in renewable energy projects to revive the economies of some communities in the country, stating that BoI’s intervention in the real sector is geared towards creating impacts through job creation for teeming unemployed population in the country.
“Our renewable energy potential is the best in the world, giving us a ticket for green industrialisation; a ticket to do things differently. Africa is here at the COP21 climate negotiations to clearly make this case. We are ready to negotiate hard for a climate deal that will allow the continent to pursue this pathway to a greener industrialisation that will not only further Africa’s development but also make a significant contribution to global efforts to reduce emissions,” Lopes concluded.