The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said Nigeria has a comparative advantage in attracting and harnessing potential investments into the country based on funds being pledged at the ongoing United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP28)

The former Nigerian Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy made the remark on Friday amidst climate commitments being made at the ongoing 28th meetings of the COP28 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

She spoke shortly after she addressed world leaders at the World Climate Action Summit.

“This is the time for us (Nigeria) to harness the investments that are potentially out there. We must grab a slice of that $100 million Germany is promising,” she said.

The WTO official said there is a need for Nigeria to begin serious work on its Energy Transition Plan (ETP).

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said in her message that Nigeria needs to begin serious work on its Energy Transition Plan (ETP)

Nigeria expects to spend $1.9 trillion between 2022 and 2060 to meet the targets of the ETP across five sectors.

Nigeria, like most oil-producing countries, often touts gas (a lesser evil) as a transition fuel but lacks the infrastructure to deliver on that.

At the ongoing COP, Nigeria’s delegates have hinted that the country’s priority is to secure more finances from investors to achieve its ETP and other relevant climate actions in the country.

At the opening plenary of COP28 on Thursday, a historic agreement was reached after delegates adopted the inclusion of loss and damage operationalisation fund in the summit’s agenda.

Just after the delegates agreed to operationalise the loss and damage fund, countries began to make pledges in solidarity with the new funds.

Over $450 million were pledged by countries and this momentum continued as the summit entered the second day.

Opportunities

On Friday, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said Nigeria has a comparative advantage to attract funding to catalyse investment on solar, on wind hydrogen and other climate-smart initiatives being supported by world leaders at the summit.

Speaking on energy transition plan, she said Nigeria would need its gas as a transition fuel because it can not go from one to the other overnight.

“…we are still a developing country with many poor people. But we should start now,” she said. She added that there is a chance for Nigeria to access more finances as more pledges are being made by World leaders.

“Let us not stay behind, let’s try to grab the investments that are willing to be made now. You heard today that the UAE announced a $30 billion fund for investment so we must tap into that. We must tap into the one from the US to start building up green hydrogen not only for ourselves but also for others,” she noted.

This story was originally published by Premium Times, Nigeria with the support of Climate Tracker’s COP28 Climate Justice Reporting Fellowship.

About the author of this article
Abdulkareem Mojeed

Abdulkareem Mojeed is a journalist from Nigeria. A graduate of Botany and Ecological Studies, he focusses on development; agriculture, food security, climate change, the environment, and the local currency market.