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Nigeria, Canada dialogue on transition fuel

By Terhemba Daka, Abuja
23 November 2022   |   5:48 am
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Canadian Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland, have agreed on the need to deepen bilateral relations between Nigeria and Canada, with a focus on improving trade, educational collaboration

[FILES] Muhammadu Buhari

We can do much more together, say Osinbajo, Canadian Deputy PM
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Canadian Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland, have agreed on the need to deepen bilateral relations between Nigeria and Canada, with a focus on improving trade, educational collaboration, and continuing dialogue on global energy transition issues and climate change.

This was the highlight of a meeting between the leaders in Ottawa, the capital of the North American country on Monday.

During his interaction with top Canadian parliamentarians, including cabinet members led by Freeland, Osinbajo noted: “We are hoping for much more that we can do together.”

The Canadian Deputy Prime Minister, who is also the nation’s Finance Minister, had, earlier, expressed similar sentiments while welcoming the Vice President.

She observed that the Canadian government values its relationship with Africa, especially Nigeria, and has been “looking forward to this visit for a long time,” adding that the relationship with Nigeria is “very important to us.”

On the global net zero emissions targets and energy transition, Osinbajo reaffirmed the view that gas ought to be adopted as a transition fuel, a notion he said garnered traction at the recent COP27 conference in Egypt, even though still widely unacknowledged in the West.

“We believe we must use our gas as transition fuel; we have huge gas reserves. We would like to continue to use our gas during the transition,” the Vice President said while explaining that the Federal Government’s Energy Transition Plan is focused on renewable energy, including the ongoing Solar Power Naija Programme, which was launched under the Economic Sustainability Plan.

Responding, Freeland, who wondered whether countries, such as Nigeria, are already struggling to get financing for gas projects, said: “We will be happy to keep talking with you on that,” adding that the use of natural gas makes sense.

Both leaders exchanged notes on some of the common and peculiar economic challenges in their respective countries, including fiscal and monetary challenges, subsidies, financial inclusion, social investment programmes and strategies to support the vulnerable, among others.

They also discussed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), observing that the market provided opportunities for mutual benefits, not only for African countries but also Canada, which is desirous of contributing to its development and also tapping into the continental market.

Besides Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, other top parliamentarians who met with the Vice President at the meeting included Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing, Diversity and Inclusion; Marci Ein, Minister for Women and Gender Equality; Rob Oliphant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Michael Coteau, Member of Parliament for Don Valley East in Toronto; Senator Marie-Françoise Mégie, Senator from Quebec and Senator Hassan Yussuff, Senator from Ontario.

On the Vice President’s team were Ambassador Adeyinka Asekun, Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada; Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters; Mrs. Maryam Uwais, Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment; Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business; Ambassador Abdullahi Gwary, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs; and Mr. Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity.

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