Nigeria to leverage EU’s €1.3bn to develop energy, agric sectors
To boost the adoption of sustainable climate-smart agriculture and renewable energy in Nigeria and grow the country’s economy, the European Union (EU) has unveiled the ‘Team Europe Initiative (TEI) Nigeria Green Economy’ project, committing about €1.3 billion.
The project was inaugurated by the EU ambassador to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ms Samuela Isopi, at the 8th EU-Nigeria Business Forum tagged: “Nigeria and the New Economy”, in Lagos.
According to Isopi, the initiative, which aims to improve the competitive advantage of Nigeria’s agriculture and energy sectors, consists of 60 projects to be completed by 2027.
She noted that the project objectives would be achieved through the collaborative efforts of the EU member states (Denmark, France, Germany and the Netherlands), private and public sectors, and Development Financial Institutions (DFIs).
“In line with the EU’s Green Deal, the Green Economy Initiative will support the Nigerian government’s efforts to diversify the economy by combining support to enhance access to renewable energy for productive uses and boosting the development of the agricultural sector,” she said.
“Collectively, the actions will help Nigeria attain the SDGs and put the country on a sustainable development path. The initiative will offer support in areas of expertise and strong European contribution such as climate-smart agriculture, technological and digital solutions, vocational training, employment and entrepreneurship creation as well as access to sustainable energy.”
Meanwhile, she reiterated the EU’s commitment to partners with other member states interested in supporting the growth of Nigeria’s economy.
Speaking, EU Team Leader, Green and Digital Economy in Nigeria, Ms Inga Stefanowicz, said the European Investment Bank (EIB) and DFIs in Europe would assist various players in Nigeria’s agricultural and energy sectors.
“By combining EIB’s investment facilities with the European Development Finance Institutions and EU member states, the flagship initiative will create space for EU trade and investment while generating job opportunities for Nigeria’s youth.
“In agriculture, support will be provided to promote and increase climate-smart agricultural production and value-added creation in selected value chains to address food insecurity, increase agricultural exports, tackle skills gaps and create jobs,” she said.
On his part, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, represented by the Director, Agri-Business and Market Development, Dr Emmanuel Olaleye, lauded the initiative, saying it would create jobs, secure the nation’s food supply, lower inflation and expand foreign exchange earnings.
Meanwhile, he said the Federal Government would continue to prioritise activities in the agriculture sector through targeted policies to attract investments, following its diversification goals and achieving food security.
“The ministry has identified what needs to be done to achieve this by promoting the use of a better variety of seeds that are high yielding, disease-resistant, and adaptive quality.
“We also seek to promote mechanised production through the Green Imperative that is government-enabled but private-sector driven that will reduce human effort and enhance productivity while removing drudgery in the farming operation and strengthen value chain linkages.
“Others include increasing investments in commodity exchanges; aggregation and backward/forward integration; supporting agricultural research and development; and reducing the risks associated with farming by de-risking agricultural productivity,” he added.