How EU’s interventionist projects are impacting Nigerians

Tue Oct 15th, 2019 - Abuja (FCT)

As it plans to make renewable energy sustainable in Nigeria

Stories by Kingsley Adegboye

In its quest to make Nigeria renewable energy efficient, the European Union (EU) is supporting a number of solar energy projects across Nigeria through its funding assistance mechanisms.

Specifically, the EU targets three priority sectors of the nation’s economy in its intervention in Nigeria in its current 11th European Development Fund (EDF) development assistance. These include social, economic and political governance sectors.

The European Union

In the social sector, EU is improving access to quality primary health care, the fight against malnutrition and measures to strengthen resilience and promote social protection. The organization is also supporting routine and polio immunization campaigns, activities to improve access to clean water and sanitation, and livelihoods and revenue generation in rural populations through food and nutrition security.

In the economic sector, the Union is increasing access to sustainable electricity, supporting efforts to improve conditions for economic growth with a focus on improving competitiveness and diversification, development of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, while strengthening public finance systems at state and federal levels, to create a stable environment for trade and investment activities.

Renewable energy capable of improving Nigeria’s economy ―Experts(Opens in a new browser tab)

In the political governance sector, it is embarking on activities to strengthen democracy in Nigeria, the fight against corruption, the fight against human trafficking, drugs and small arms, the reform of the justice system, measures to manage migration more efficiently and effectively, and capacity building for civil society organizations.

All these are made possible through the main instrument for the EU assistance which is the European Development Fund. Most EU development cooperation activities in Nigeria are funded primarily through the allocation of €689 million from the 10th EDF and €562 million allocation from the 11th EDF.

The Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, who disclosed this during the unveiling of a solar tree at the EU Delegation Office Complex in Abuja, said the solar tree was unveiled to spotlight EU’s current actions in Nigeria and as part of activities to highlight the use of the sun as a source of clean, renewable energy.

According to Karlsen,, “We decided to put the spotlight on one particular issue that is vital for everything else and that is the accessibility to affordable energy.

“ For the availability of jobs, it is absolutely vital that businesses can thrive and for businesses to thrive, it is important that they have access to affordable energy in order to compete”.

EU boss revealed that the Union set aside €165 million to help bridge the gap in energy supply in the country, with over 90 million Nigerians and business owners without access to the national grid.

“ A very significant number of people do not have access to affordable energy options. As a result, the EU has set aside €165 million, supplemented by other financing opportunities with specific funding for Nigerian businesses in order to promote better use of renewable energy in this country.

“ This room we are sitting in, is being fueled by renewable energy, very soon we will unveil the source of that energy in this compound that will be fueled by solar energy.

“ We thought that instead of preaching this, we should walk the talk ourselves by making use of renewable energy sources for our own day to day work. Now, we need to reach out to the people that need renewable energy all over Nigeria”, Karlsen noted.

Meanwhile, a significant allocation from the 11th EDF (about €1 billion) is used for regional cooperation in West-Africa, mainly coordinated with the regional organizations like ECOWAS and West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), in the areas of peace & security, economic integration (including infrastructure) and natural resources management and resilience.

The EU has equally launched a €30 million sustainable energy investment fund for off-grid solution development in the country in its effort to drive the renewable solar energy project. The fund, Electrification Financing Initiative (ElectriFI), would be granted to investors in Renewable Energy (RE) under some criteria such as viability of ideas with the ultimate aim of growing strategic movements to close the energy gap.

Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, who disclosed this at the 4th edition of Nigeria Energy Forum (NEF), in Lagos, tagged, “Up-scaling Clean Energy for Sustainable Development”, said finding the right mix to diversify Nigeria’s energy supply is important and has to be fueled by investments and infrastructure to give opportunities to entrepreneurs and developers in the sector.

Renewable energy capable of improving Nigeria’s economy ―Experts(Opens in a new browser tab)

Reiterating the EU’s commitment of past years in the sector, Karlsen noted that the new fund comes after an earlier support of a global window fund of €126 million of which Nigeria was a beneficiary, pointing out however, that the new funding is solely a Nigerian window fund.

Chief Executive Officer, All On, Wiebe Boer, said the main problem of Nigeria’s energy sector arises from four decades of non-investments, resulting in a huge power gap that would need about $200 billion to solve using a top-down approach.

Other funding sources for EU development interventions cooperation include EU Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), in particular the €1001.8 million allocation for the Sahel/Lake Chad region such as Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Ivory Coast, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal. Various EU Thematic Budget lines include EU funded humanitarian assistance in Nigeria through the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

In its multi-sector support to the displaced in Adamawa and Borno States, with the overall objective to help strengthen the resilience of conflict-affected populations of Borno and Adamawa states, the EU seeks to meet the basic needs of the targeted vulnerable households, vulnerable individuals, including young people and women, to enhance their access to livelihood opportunities, while targeted communities are protected and treated for acute malnutrition.

It is further expected to provide Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services, including water supply and sanitation infrastructure, for targeted communities to contribute to improved well-being and resilience.

The EU’s main activities in this multi-sector support to the displaced include distribution of unconditional cash (or vouchers), Cash For Work schemes for youth, distribution of assets for farming, establishing farmer field schools, training in business, financial management and life skills, developing and disseminating messages on Community-based Management of Accute Malnutrition (CMAM) programme & Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) and WASH good practices, providing medicines and nutritional treatment to health facilities and camp clinics, constructing and/or rehabilitating water supply infrastructure, training local hygiene promoters and community volunteers as well as establishing Community and School Health Clubs.

The EU’s main accomplishments to date in this project include the fact that 3,200 households have benefited from three rounds of unconditional cash transfers, and 1, 109 children under five years old from these households have been screened for malnutrition (20 were referred to OPT – out-patient-therapeutic programmes) 983 beneficiaries (499 females and 484 males) from vulnerable households received seed vouchers, 957 Mother-to-Mother Support Groups (MTMSG) members trained on infant feeding practices, and 87 health workers received on-job training on CMAM/MIYCF protocols/activities.

Others are dissemination of nutrition messages reached 58, 287 individuals, rehabilitation/construction of 65 water supply infrastructure to improve the sanitation and well-being of 42,250 people.




source: Vanguard