Chido Nwangwu writes about the expectations of President Muhammadu Buhari from the three-day US-African leaders summit which ended Thursday in Washington DC
The White House-led U,S-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC. from December 13-15, 2022, had top leaders of the two continents in attendance. Among the key dignitaries were President Biden, Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) President Félix Tshisekedi and several others.
U.S Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin III, a retired army General, and his counterparts, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Samantha Power, administrator of USAID co-hosted the forum on Peace, Security and Governance.
“The African Leader Summit comes at a very important time for U.S.-African relations. The United States has recognized the enormous potential and promise in Africa, and this is something that we definitely want to lean in on”, said a senior defense official quoted in a briefing advisory seen by USAfricaonline.com.
The official added “Together, the Department of Defense, State and USAID will share perspectives on the importance of our ‘3D’ approach to Africa and share the stage with our African partners to hear their perspectives on security and the challenges in their countries.”
Secretary Blinken also met with Tshisekedi to discuss the critical security and catastrophic humanitarian situation from severe flooding in eastern DRC.
Buhari, a retired army General, whose tenure of two terms (eight years) will end in May 2023 appealed that “Nigeria too seeks support from the US to be included in the G7’s Climate Partnerships List for the co-creation of a Just Energy Transition Partnership.”
Buhari told U.S and African government officials that the Nigeria government has “approved the plan earlier this year and adopted it as a national policy… . to completely eliminate the use of petrol/diesel generators by 2060 and therefore need to deploy renewables, particularly solar, at an unprecedented scale. For instance, the Energy Transition Plan requires that 5.3 GW of Solar be deployed annually until 2060 to achieve our targets.”
Buhari added that “as part of the National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy, we set the vision 30:30:30 which aims at achieving 30GW of electricity by 2030 with renewable energy contributing 30 per cent of the energy mix. Last year, Nigeria became the first African country to develop a detailed Energy Transition Plan to tackle both energy poverty and climate change, and deliver SDG7 by 2030 and net-zero by 2060.”
He stated that Nigeria’s government “aggressive power sector reforms have resulted in cost-reflective tariffs in the power sector for the first time since privatization. Under the Nigeria Electrification Project, over four million people have been impacted through solar mini-grids and solar stand-alone systems. With respect to hydro, the Zungeru hydropower project is nearing completion and will add 700MW in capacity to the grid.”
Buhari said “our analysis shows that delivering the Energy Transition Plan requires $1.9 trillion in spending up to 2060, including $410 billion above business-as-usual spending. This additional financing requirement translates to a $10 billion investment needed per annum. Between 2000 and 2020, just $3 billion per year was invested in renewable energy in the whole of Africa. Consequently, the $10 billion per year target of our Energy Transition Plan represents a significant scaling of current investment flows and we need support from the U.S. to mobilize the needed resources… . For our clean energy market to scale, Nigeria and more broadly Africa needs concessional, low-interest capital-led investments.”
Did the U.S government led by Joe Biden believe the picture and numbers Buhari painted in Washongton DC? It’s a necessary context as it is important to note that Buhari is facing local and international criticisms for ineffective management of Nigeria’s economy and infrastructure. He is also getting very low grade on the widespread insecurity and violence in most parts of Nigeria. The summit did not allay the critical concerns of the American government.
-Dr Nwangwu, is Founder of the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper on the internet, USAfricaonline.com