Jesse Ovadia believes that the new EU-Africa partnership should focus on strengthening African governments and working with them to develop renewable energy strategies.
Dr. Jesse Salah Ovadia is an associate professor at the University of Windsor in Canada and the author of “African Petroleum Developing Countries”.
A new chapter in the EU’s relations with 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries was signed in April this year, opening a new chapter. New EU-OACPS partnership agreement (Sometimes called Cotonou 2.0 or post-Cotonou Agreement).
The statement reignited the debate on the nature of the EU-Africa partnership, especially climate change, environment and sustainable development, which are new areas of cooperation that the agreement prioritizes.
It is true that Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa and the leading oil producer on the African continent. Green opportunities and investment are essential to assist the country’s long-term energy transition.
For Europe, the Cotonou Agreement provides a framework within which the multi-billion-dollar European Green New Deal can benefit ACP countries through new investments in green infrastructure and technology.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission debate The green transition, especially the transition to renewable energy, can become the engine of recovery in Europe and Africa after COVID-19, calling it “the biggest economic opportunity of our time.”
Throughout Europe, discuss already started How can Africa benefit Obtain the much-needed investment in its sustainable energy transition from the European Green New Deal. These discussions should also involve how to learn from past development failures, because European countries support the Green New Deal in African countries.
However, throughout Africa, there are More and more attention The post-Cotonou Agreement failed to recognize the Intra-African Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) as the framework for the African Union to articulate its policies to promote economic growth and sustainable development.Does not recognize AfCFTA, it may eventually be the European Union Missed opportunity.
Because of its scale and importance, Nigeria’s renewable energy transition provides Europe with as many opportunities as the European Green New Deal offers Nigeria, if not more.
Nigerian Renewable energy policy, Especially its new Solar power plan, With huge potential Given the country’s energy needs and its diesel-dependent economy, more than 40% of the population Access to electricity is limited.
Implementation is the main challenge of the Nigerian plan.The success of the plan to use renewable energy Promote energy security Nigeria relies on private investment.In the history of development and the partnership between the EU and Africa, this has always been The secret of disaster.
In Cotonou 2.0, by balancing investment promotion and strengthening of industrial policies and national institutions involved in implementation, there is an opportunity to choose a model that is different from the failures in the past.
When describing Africa’s green energy transition as an opportunity for Europe, it is necessary to question For whom New opportunities exist, who is ExcludedAnd how economic transformation can promote truly diversified and inclusive sustainable growth.
In turn, sustainability and green investment in Europe cannot be based on Historical mode Rule and squeeze.
In order to break the norm, the new EU-Africa partnership should focus on strengthening African governments and working with them to develop renewable energy strategies.Nigeria’s solar plan highlights the possibility of an energy transition State-led.
The role of the state should be to maximize the potential for industrial development and green employment. Therefore, the partnership with Europe will involve Europe’s support for new African green deals based on African terms, and private investment that is guided by the national development strategies and industrial policies of African countries and conforms to the development strategies and industrial policies of African countries.
In Nigeria, the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) stated that the solar power plan has the potential to affect up to 25 million beneficiaries, create 250,000 jobs, create $17 million in taxes, and achieve an annual import substitution of $10 million-all of this All came from an investment of 75 million US dollars.
Although these figures seem to be exaggerated, the New Deal of the 20th century was a state-led economic development method that was primarily ambitious at the beginning. It did greatly reduce the unemployment rate in the United States.In a country like Nigeria, the official number of youth unemployed is Nearly 30%, Have huge potential In such a method.
The most important but untapped aspect of Nigeria’s solar energy plan is the promotion of large-scale assembly of solar modules in Nigeria, that is, the “local content” aspect.For the past two decades, local content has been the foundation of Nigeria’s strategy Get more benefits From its petroleum resources.
Although this strategy started slowly, it is a Nigerian manufacturing method, supported by various stakeholders, and led by the Nigerian government through the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
The role of foreign governments and international oil companies should be to provide support and assistance. Given the strategic importance and importance of Nigeria’s oil resources, they are more inclined to provide support and assistance.
If a just transition is to be achieved, Europe’s role in promoting renewable energy in Africa must also focus on supporting national institutions such as REA, debt relief, investment in line with its strategy, and promoting rather than hindering local content, technology transfer, and domestic value-added , In order to solve the long-term structural transformation problem.
In this way, the wider Nigerians and Africans will not only be users of green energy, but also producers of technologies and inputs used in the renewable energy industry.