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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Nigeria inaugurates committee to promote clean energy technologies

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), Dr. Adeleke Mamora, has inaugurated a 13-member Project Steering Committee (PSC) of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) to oversee the implementation of the Nigerian Clean Technology Innovation Programme (NC-TIP).

Nigerian Clean Technology Innovation Programme
Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI), Dr. Adeleke Mamora, with members of the Project Steering Committee (PSC)

Performing the rite on Tuesday, August 16, 2022, in Abuja, Dr. Mamora expressed joy that the project is coming at a time when production and value addition to the nation’s immense natural resources has become critical to fast-tracking socio-economic growth.

Consequently, he urged the members who are selected from the collection of experts in both public and private sectors of the economy to make a very important contribution to Nigeria’s development through this laudable project.

While observing that the use of clean energy technologies is becoming a global trend, the minister called on all Nigerians to embrace and support the deployment of clean energy innovations and solutions across the various sectors of the economy.

“It is pertinent to note,” he said, “that the world is currently moving towards the use of clean energy technologies,” and the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (FMSTI) being aware of this, is currently conducting Technology Needs Assessment for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in key sectors of the economy.

The country’s science, technology, and innovation chief commended the efforts of UNIDO for mobilising resources to pilot this project and GEF for providing the seed financial resources.

He also praised the Department of Environmental Sciences and Technology of FMSTI for conceptualising the NC-TIP that provided the national platform for the partnership with the Global Clean Technology Programme being piloted by UNIDO and the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), and Co-Creation Hub for providing the niche technical services within the project.

Benefits of the project

Regional Director, UNIDO Nigeria Regional Hub, Mr. Jean Bakole, told the participants that the project would benefit the common man on the street in so many ways because it is linked to other programmes that are implemented in the country.

Represented by the National Programme Officer, UNIDO Nigeria, Dr. Reuben Bamidele, he assured that this would happen because the focus of the project is to promote start-ups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country to operate and produce in a responsible manner and in such a way that the business ethics are followed, and the environment is not jeopardised.

Nigeria, according to him, is not implementing this project in isolation, they are 15 countries in total, and therefore, this project will network with 14 other countries during execution, and several innovative ideas will be brought to bear in managing businesses in Nigeria, creating new ones and then expanding the ones that are already in existence.

“Through this particular approach, many jobs will be created; opportunity avenues will be enlarged in the country so that many more people can come in,” he said.

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Co-creation Hub, Mr. Bosun Tijani, believes that many Nigerians will gain from this project because its foundation is anchored in innovation, which is essential to every development in the world.

As the world is constantly going through the process of consuming energy, which is more expensive globally, Mr. Tijani highlighted that there is a need for countries to start thinking of cleaner forms of energy.

That consumption demand, he explained, calls on every society to be extremely innovative in the way it manages what it has and also generate newer and cleaner forms of energy.

And this can only be done through innovations, he noted, highlighting that innovation can’t happen when the critical institutions or organisations within an economy don’t come together to support those who want to innovate. And this is because when you have smart people with great ideas, but the enabling environment is weak, nothing is going to be reaped from the innovators who can help lift the economy.

“And I think that is what is unique about this exercise, the fact that UNIDO brings resources, the Federal Government and private sector to the table to truly empower people to innovate and reap the benefits of these innovations for everyday people in Nigeria and the economy of the country,” he said.

Challenges

He noted that looking at some of the ways that the initiative has been structured; there is a part of it that is focused on supporting innovators, the acceleration component which his organisation is responsible for. There is also a part that is focused on enabling the environment, policies, and funding opportunities. All those things are responsible for building the pipeline for fundable ideas.

So, the Co-creation helmsman revealed that the project would not only going to be looking at supporting those who are ready to be funded but also going to be thinking of what other initiatives can be put in place to help those who don’t have the required business qualification to display their talents.

According to him, the programme will also focus on other partners that can be brought to join the table and help strengthen the pipeline to get more businesses to a point where they are qualified for the funding, which is another unique thing about this scheme that can help to bridge the gap.

The challenges always are on the side of the investment, he said because it is always not enough to bank on the government or multilateral agencies’ funding for supporting innovation, underscoring that it is essential for the private sector to also be able to bring the money to the table to back those who are building their businesses for the future.

Furthermore, he stated that this is also critical because it ensures that investors find it valuable and worthy to put their money in the space to encourage innovation, which is the biggest of them as seen in the financial services community where incentives encouraged investors to bring money to fund innovative ideas.

“It is the same thing we have to try and unlock with a lot of activities that we are going to be doing with this programme,” he said, “to encourage more capital beyond what UNIDO is putting on the table, but for the private sector to be able to back innovative ideas.”

The task before the committee

He said what the members of the committee need to do differently is to ensure that the focus is not just on funding small businesses because wherever there is money, that is where all the attention will go.

Thus, there is a need to understand that the money in this project is just seed funding to kick off the environment. As a result, what the committee should be prioritising in his opinion are policies and regulations.

“How do you make it a lot more attractive for private investors to bring in money because if you make it more attractive, you will get a lot more inflow of capital,” he said, because globally there are investors who are investing in clean energy technologies, there is a lot of capital in that space, but those monies will only go to countries with the right policies and opportunities for them to maximise return on their investments.

“So, our job as a committee is to not only focus on funding a few companies but making sure that the pool of capital that will be available by the result of this project becomes larger, and that way more companies can get funded,” Mr. Tijani submitted.

By Etta Michael Bisong, Abuja  

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