Raising the stakes: Nigeria goes green
Africa is blessed with an abundance of renewable energy sources; Water, sun and wind power all have the potential to meet the continent’s rapidly growing electricity demands. It’s a prospect that’s excited the interest of both public and private sector players in Nigeria. Utilising solar panelling, advanced energy-saving technology and extensive green spaces, Eko Energy City is blazing an environmentally-friendly trail for other companies across the region to follow.
The Nigerian government has itself set a target of reducing its CO2 emissions by 40 percent over the next twelve years. Investment in greener technologies is a key plank in its environmental strategy. Advanced ‘eco-technologies’ like those employed in the Eko Cities project are also expected to reap other benefits for the country, including providing remoter areas with renewable energy generating capacity and boosting agricultural production. Nigeria’s release of NG 10.69m worth of green bonds in late December 2017 is another clear indication that the government is taking environmental issues seriously. Securities created to raise funds for environmentally sustainable projects are a relatively novel innovation; until recently, Poland, France and Fiji were the only countries to have issued such financial instruments.
December’s issue is the first tranche in a planned series of releases which, if everything goes to plan, should ultimately raise NG 150bn. Nigeria has now been given the seal of approval by the Climate Bond Certification Scheme, having met the stringent requirements laid down by the organisation. It has also been given a GB1 (‘excellent’) rating by Moody’s. Earmarking capital raised through issuing bonds to ‘green’ projects is a highly creative way of tackling the looming threat of climate change. By channelling money into environmentally-friendly initiatives the bond should also help to build up the country’s non-hydrocarbon-based economy, an objective considered critically important to securing its future prosperity. It’s the same innovatory spirit which is guiding the transformation of Lagos’ Victoria Island through the Eko Cities project.
Employing state-of-the-art technology, the huge mixed-use development is setting new environmental standards not only for the country, but for the whole region. A full 50% of Eko City’s power will be drawn from solar energy. The excitement generated by the release of the green bonds is a sign of widespread optimism about Nigeria’s future. Ground-breaking initiatives such as the bonds and the Eko Cities project are solidifying the country’s reputation as Africa’s most innovatory and dynamic economy.