Nigeria is moving a strong position for the realisation of the green economy by carving a niche for sustainable wealth and development. Odimegwu Onwumere investigates in this report that the country is also head bent in grabbing the opportunity evolving around its marine, therefore using the paradigm shift to provide jobs and social reimbursements and also, not eschewing the protection of fundamental natural possessions, and making use of natural resources and ecosystem services
“If you want to address poverty in a sustainable manner, you cannot ignore the oceans. And if you must explore the seas and oceans in a sustainable manner, green house gas emission must be taken seriously,” said Dr. Dakuku Peterside at the experts’ round-table of MARPOL Annex VI, a treaty of the International Maritime Organisation for deterrence of air pollution from ships, held in Lagos, recently.
Peterside is the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administrative and Safety Agency (NIMASA). He has been working round the clock to improve water economy in the areas of green economy, sustainability and creating opportunities for development. He has also been into measures that would create job opportunities as part of sustainable ways to tap into development opportunities of the green economy. Peterside saw that the exact combination of policy, encouragement, competence development and informational tools, were keys in the sustainability of the green economy.
“We are conscripting 1,000 saving persons to safeguard our water ways,” Peterside told newsmen in April 2017, adding, “The regional Search and Rescue committee, which is made up of nine member countries – namely, Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome & Principe and Togo, was dormant. For almost a decade, they never met to discuss modalities of collaboration.”
This highlight was hinged on the fact that Nigeria was pursuing strapping situation for the nuance of the green economy in making sure that she carved a cubbyhole for sustainable wealth and development in Africa.
“NIMASA will soon take delivery of the 5th largest modular floating dockyard on the African continent. This dockyard will earn the Nigerian government, at least, $100 million annually in direct savings from the dry-docking of vessels operating in Nigeria, which is mostly done outside the country at the moment. It is our desire to partner the private sector to run the dockyard,” Peterside added.
Peterside observed that the Africa’s Seas and Oceans announced by the African Union (AU) starting from 2015 to 2025 was a waft in the ways things were done, recognising that the seas and oceans were the basement of economic infrastructure on the continent and it behooved on all to join hands and protect the seas. He noted that this was in line with the largely goals of Africa’s Agenda 2063.
Green Economy On Seas
In keeping the green economy sustainably, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Finance, on 12th of January 2017, instated a Public Private Advisory Group assembly on the Green Bonds, to affirm stakeholders’ session, held in late 2016.
“It is a well-known fact that Africa’s seas and oceans are usually overlooked when it comes to issues of sustainable development in Africa, to the extent that Africa is considered to be sea blind,” said Peterside, adding, “Sea blind, because there is low level awareness of the potentials for wealth creation which abounds in the seas and oceans.”
He therefore bemoaned that Nigerians eyes were increasingly being opened “to the reality that our seas and oceans possess huge source of economic resources that can take the continent to the next level.”
What this meant was that the country had seen that diversification of the economy would aid investors and especially, the teeming young social entrepreneurs, but most importantly, in the green bond market, while structuring a countrywide climate finance aptitude.
“Investing in green sectors, including the water sector, more jobs and greater prosperity can be created. Arguably, these opportunities are strongest in areas where people still do not have access to clean water and adequate sanitation services,” as according to a national data of the UNICEF.
The international group went further, “Early investment in the provision of these services appears to be a precondition for progress. Once made, the rate of progress will be faster and more sustainable, thus making transition to a green economy possible.”
Sovereign Green Bonds
It’s no longer news that the green economy has become the keyword in all facets of businesses of countries on the Sub-Saharan Africa and Nigeria, was not left behind.
This oil rich country in West Africa with a growing population that was predicted to surpass that of the United States by 2030, held the first ever Green Bonds Conference, which was organised by the Federal Ministry of Environment in partnership with Federal Ministry of Finance and Debt Management Office.
At the event hypothetically held on Thursday, 23rd of February 2016 at the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Lagos, and christened “Green Bonds: Investing in Nigeria’s Sustainable Development”, the then Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo delivered a keynote presentation.
The Federal Government (FG), however, expressed tremendous interest in the Sovereign Green Bonds project and some key international and local groups like the Nigerian Stock Exchange, CITI Bank, Chapel Hill Denham and Climate Bonds, the World Bank, DFID and EY were sponsors and collaborators to the FG, in order to carve a niche to augment the bond.
Explaining this, Oscar N. Onyema, CEO Nigerian Stock Exchange, said, “A sovereign green bond represents a new stage in development of Nigerian capital markets and opens the way for further corporate issuance and international investment.
“The NSE is playing a key role to help develop this enormous opportunity for Nigeria and fulfill one of our key objectives as a member of the UN Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative.”
It was pragmatic that the Green Bonds was aimed to compel Nigeria and her citizens to spigot into the increasing universal market for green bonds. According to some opinions like the Climate Bonds Initiative, London, as of the end of 2016 the bonds encompassed of $576bn of uncategorized climate- supported bonds and $118bn of labeled green bonds.
This Green Bonds initiative by Nigeria was to make sure that the sustainable development opportunities of the green economy abound in the country. It was believed that the insurance approach to realising the green economy would add importance and appeal to the country’s funding decisions and gives the majority of Nigerians a new lease to the economy.
The NIMASA boss expressed confidence, saying that opportunities would accrue from proper water management in the areas of social and economical development and green economy. He added that protecting freshwater ecosystems was an issue that must be tackled with positive energy, given that water maintains a great role in biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Nigeria nonetheless was head bent in grabbing the opportunity evolving around green economy. Also, she was using the paradigm shift to provide jobs and social reimbursements by also, not eschewing the protection of fundamental natural possessions and making use of natural resources and ecosystem services.
This was even as Peterside unveiled that ships doing business in Nigerian waterways now flag Nigerian flag, unlike before. According to him, “It may also interest you to know that before 2003, less than 3 per cent of vessels operating in our waters were flagged Nigerian. However, today, we have over 60 per cent vessels doing business in Nigerian waters flying the Nigerian flag.”
He harangued that the Nigerian flag has also enjoyed noteworthy growth over the months. “While 262 vessels with a total tonnage of slightly over 232,000 gross registered tonnage (GRT) were registered in 2015, the figures almost doubled in 2016 as 370 vessels with a total tonnage of almost 420,000grt were registered within the past 12 months,” he added.
Those who know better were of the view that the earlier the green economy policies and actions were pursued with the attention it needed, the more the Sub-Saharan Africa would meet up with her developing strands.
This would also cut across investments in renewable energy development, they said, adding, renewable would bolster the electricity generation from renewable. They whispered that technology was one means to augment the green economy to especially, advance in the agricultural and industrial yield, while energy and water scarcity in the rural and urban areas would be sent on errand.
Odimegwu Onwumere is a Media Consultant based in Rivers State. Tel: +2348032552855. He contributed this piece via: firstname.lastname@example.org