Yesterday, the European Commission announced €27 million of financial support to help improve the renewable energy policy in Nigeria. Currently, a large part of the Nigerian population lacks access to energy or relies on polluting fuels such as fuel wood and charcoal with severe consequences for health and the environment.
The newly launched Energising Access to Sustainable Energy (EASE) programme aims to improve the enabling framework conditions for renewable energy and energy efficiency in Nigeria and, in particular, with a focus on the use of renewable energies by Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and households. ”
At the moment, 80 per cent of the population in rural Nigeria have no access to electricity at all. Our overall objective is to help decrease this number significantly, but it is also important to improve the wellbeing of those who do have access, since they often suffer from inadequate lightning to carry out their housework and from inhaling toxic smokes due to unmaintained cooking stoves”, said European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs.
The EASE programme will also address the massive deforestation and cutting of trees for fuel wood, which is the main energy source for the majority of the population, by planting more trees. Furthermore, Nigeria is the second largest gas flaring country, emitting some 40 million tons of CO2 each day.
Through the promotion of reduced gas flaring, the EASE programme will contribute to resource conservation and help fight climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Some other activities to be carried out through the programme will include: design of energy assessment and strategies to increase access to energy, providing essential training on aspects such as norms, standards, and tariffs, or the development of business plans to demonstrate commercial viability of small-scale gas resources.
The new programme will be run in partnership with the World Bank (which will contribute with over €4,6 million) and the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) (with a contribution of €9 million).
The EU has allocated €697 million to cooperation with Nigeria through the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) which runs from 2007-2013. The key areas of our development work in the country are: Governance and human rights – €146 million Peace and security – €402 million Trade, regional integration and energy security – €47 million Health – €88 million. The EU will look together with Nigeria on how to address the root causes of terrorism in the programming of the 11th EDF.
EU cooperation on energy in developing countries More than 1 billion people on the planet do not have access to electricity, half of them in Africa. This is one of the greatest brakes on Africa’s development. The EU is the biggest donor in energy worldwide and has invested more than €2 billion over the last five years on energy projects in developing countries and more than €1 billion on improving the state of the energy sector in Africa, including efforts to increase access to modern energy services. The link between energy and development is fundamental.
That is why energy is a key part of the Agenda for Change, the blueprint for reforming the EU development policy. This new orientation was created with the aim that EU aid should be focused on the most strategic and growth-oriented sectors, including energy.
Information from the African Press Organization was used in this report.