EU launches €1.3 billion green economy project in Nigeria

From left to right, European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Samuel Isopi, Director of International Cooperation Department, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Lanre Adekanye, Consul General, Denmark, Mr. Per Christensen, representative of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Development/Director, Agribusiness & Market Development in the Ministry, Emmanuel Olaleye, Cluster Coordinator, Germany, Markus Wauschkuhn, Ambassador of France to Nigeria, Emmanuelle Blatmann and Consul General of the Netherlands , Michel Deelen during the Official Green Economy Luncheon at the 8th Edition of the EU-Nigeria Business Forum on the theme: Nigeria and the New Economy, in Lagos on Friday

The European Union (EU) has launched the “Team Europe Initiative (TEI) Nigeria Green Economy” project aimed at boosting sustainable and climate-smart agriculture and renewable energy for economic growth and diversification.

The Ambassador of the EU to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ms. Samuela Isopi, unveiled the project during the 8th EU-Nigeria Business Forum titled: “Nigeria and the new economy” on Friday, in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the members of the TEI Green Economy Project are: Denmark, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

According to the ambassador, the TEI Green Economy consists of 60 projects of different nature to be executed in the agriculture and energy sectors by 2027 and is valued at 1.3 billion euros.

Isopi said the project aims to improve the competitive advantage of Nigeria’s agriculture and energy sectors, with a focus on access to clean and renewable energy as well as the creation of jobs, skills and capacity development.

She added that the project was the result of collaborative efforts with the EU and Member States, the private and public sectors and development finance institutions.

She has provided continued support to the Nigerian government in implementing its economic diversification policies and new partnerships with the private sector.

“In line with the EU’s Green Deal, the Green Economy Initiative will support the Nigerian government’s efforts to diversify the economy by combining support to improve access to renewable energy for productive use and stimulate the development of the sector. agricultural.

“Collectively, the actions will help Nigeria achieve the SDGs and set the country on a path to sustainable development.

“The initiative will offer support in areas of expertise and a strong European contribution such as climate-smart agriculture, technological and digital solutions, vocational training, job creation and entrepreneurship as well as the access to sustainable energy,” she said.

She said the TEI would forge new partnerships with interested member states to support Nigeria’s circular economy efforts.

Ms. Inga Stefanowicz, EU Team Leader for Green and Digital Economy in Nigeria, said the European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Development Finance Institutions would assist various value chain actors in the agriculture and energy sectors.

“By combining EIB investment facilities with European Development Finance Institutions and EU Member States, the Flagship Initiative will create space for EU trade and investment while generating employment opportunities for young Nigerians.

“In agriculture, support will be provided to promote and increase climate-smart agricultural production and value addition in selected value chains to address food insecurity, increase agricultural exports, meet skills gaps and create jobs.

“The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and state institutions will be supported in the execution of its mandate, and in particular the development of agricultural education, integrating ICT and technical and vocational education and training” , she said.

Stefanowicz added that interventions on the ground would focus on creating positive ripple effects across value chains, including smallholder farmers, processors, manufacturers, wholesalers, transporters and retailers.

She said interventions in the energy sector would include capacity building, policy dialogue and advisory services with the Ministry of Energy and its agencies, in developing an enabling policy environment, and adoption and implementation of measures.

“They will focus on the effective delivery of the ministry’s mandate, including the Paris Agreement commitment, the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) goals as well as the development of new business models for energy access. energy with the private sector.

She added that the team would work with federal and state governments to remove barriers to the ease of doing business and investing.

Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, hailed the initiative, adding that the agriculture sector has the greatest potential to diversify the economy and provide the broad-based growth needed for development as “ new engine of growth”.

Abubakar, who was represented by Dr Emmanuel Olaleye, Director of Agribusiness and Markets Development, said the agriculture sector was key to creating jobs, securing food supply, reduction in inflation and increased foreign exchange earnings.

He said the federal government will continue to prioritize activities in the agricultural sector through targeted policies to attract investment, in line with the drive for diversification and the realization of food security.

According to the Minister, some of the policies include National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy, National Agricultural Resilience Framework (NARF, 2014), Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP, 2016-2020) and National Agriculture Transformation Plan. livestock (NLTP, 2019-2025), among others.

He also stressed the need for farmers and investors to harness the opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for the country to become Africa’s largest producer of crops like maize, rice and soybeans. .

“The ministry has identified what needs to be done to achieve this by promoting the use of better seed variety with high yield, disease resistance and adaptive quality.

“We also seek to promote mechanized production through the green imperative which is government enabled but private sector led, which will reduce human effort and improve productivity while removing drudgery from the farm. and strengthening value chain linkages.

“Others include increased investment in commodity exchanges; upstream/downstream aggregation and integration; supporting agricultural research and development; and reduce the risks associated with agriculture by reducing the risks to agricultural productivity,” he said.

He called for support from the EU and EU countries to help build the capacity of Nigeria and its businesses to prepare proposals to access the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

“EU companies and their Nigerian counterparts should take advantage of the available GCF to attract green projects to Nigeria.

“The execution of green projects will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as envisioned in the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) strategy,” he said.

Markus Wauschkuhn, German Cluster Coordinator for Sustainable Development Projects in Nigeria, said Germany will continue to contribute to Nigeria’s competitive advantage through the Nigerian Competitiveness Project.

According to him, the project focuses on improving Nigeria’s export potential in the field of ginger, tomatoes, chilli, leather and garments and other resources to Europe. (NOPE)