By Prince Okafor
STAKEHOLDERS in Nigeria’s power sector have harped on the need for massive financial investment into the off-grid market in to improve the availability of power to rural communities, thus reducing dependence on the national grid.
Making the call at the 16th edition of the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce Seminar series on Renewable Energy Potentials in Nigeria, Deputy Delegate, Delegation of German Industry and Commerce (AHK Nigeria), Duke Benjamin, said: “Given the prevalent opportunities cum challenges currently rocking the Nigerian energy sector, access to finance either import and debt financing or impact capital in the form of convertible loans and / or equity – remains a crucial factor for enhancing energy access across the country.”
“There is an urgent need for both capital and technical interventions to salvage the nation’s energy crisis which has heavily impacted on almost every sector of the largest economy in Africa.
“There is a need for a closer collaboration between all stakeholders in the sector to improve access to sustainable and climate-friendly energy for all in Nigeria.”
The Executive Director of Rural Electrification Fund (REF), Dr. Sanusi Ohiare stated that, industry players should take advantage of the Energizing Economies Initiative (EEI) – an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria being implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency.
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He stated: “EEI has the mandate to support rapid deployment of off-grid electricity solutions that will provide clean and consistent power to economic clusters in Nigeria.”
Energy Sector Policy and Regulations Specialist, AfDB, Dozie Okpalaobieri, also said: “By mobilizing domestic and international capital for innovative financing in Africa’s energy sector, African Development Bank (AfDB) has developed a 10-year strategy (2013-2022) to achieve inclusive growth and a transition to green growth across the continent.
“The AfDB offers various financial products that Nigerian and German developers could leverage for expansion among which includes a $100-million blended finance debt fund that is designed to provide loans in local and foreign currencies to off-grid energy companies.”