Osinbajo named global advisor by GEAPP with Rockefeller, Bezos, Ikea’s backing

The President, Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), Mr Simon Hartford, announced Nigeria's former Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, beside him as the Global Adviser of GEAPP, during a press conference at the Wheatbaker Hotel in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday, July 11, 2023. Photos: Tolani Alli

The Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), has named the immediate past Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, as its its Global Adviser.

GEAPP, a global organisation funded by Rockefeller, BEZOS Earth Fund and IKEA, as an alliance of philanthropy, local entrepreneurs, governments, and technology, policy, and financing partners, announced Prof Osinbajo’s new role at a press briefing held at The Wheatbaker Hotel in Lagos, on Tuesday, July 11, 2023.

GEAPP President, Mr Simon Hartford, who disclosed his organisation’s choice of Prof Osinbajo as its Global Adviser said, the decision was made after talks with the former Vice President, who, according to him “has been a strong voice sharing the values of GEAPP.”

GEAPP launched at COP26 with aligned investments of $10billion+, including a commitment of up to $1.5billion from their 3 anchor partners, as well as nearly $9billion in aligned investments from their eight investment partners, the African Development Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the British International Investment, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, and the World Bank.

Their common mission is to enable emerging economies to shift to a clean energy, pro-growth model that accelerates universal energy access and inclusive economic growth while supporting the global community to meet critical climate goals during the next decade.

While accepting the appointment, Prof. Osinbajo noted that there was a need for governments of many developing countries to understand the economic opportunities that lie in climate action.

He said that, “perhaps this is the only way this makes more sense to governments. If you look at the pace at which climate action has gone, it is way behind the urgency of the matter.

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“I believe we have an opportunity to do a lot more in terms of sensitizing governments to the need to act quickly, urgently and act together.”

The immediate past Vice President also made the case for the African Continent being the solution to climate change whilst ensuring a just energy transition journey.

According to Prof. Osinbajo, “It is evident that given its huge renewable energy resources, the largest carbon sinks in the world, enormous natural resources and a large youth population, we (Africa) can be the solution to climate change.

“First by forbearing to grow along the carbon-intensive pathway of wealthier economies and adopting climate-positive growth policies, we play a critical role in ensuring that global net zero is possible by 2050. Second, climate action can indeed be the job engine for Africa.”

Prof. Osinbajo noted that “Africa could lead the way in tackling climate change leveraging on its renewable energy potential, young workforce, green technologies, carbon removal and green manufacturing.

“In other words, Africa can provide jobs for millions of its young people, prosper and lead in the fight against climate change by becoming perhaps the first green or carbon-free civilisation. And we have the comparative advantage to do so.”

Prof Osinbajo however stated that building climate positive growth future in the context of a just energy future that includes energy access at all levels and drives economic growth in developing countries requires international consensus, collaboration and investment.

He went on to acknowledge the work of GEAPP as one that bridges the gap “between developing countries and energy access” which has been “a core focus of the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) since it was founded in 2021.

“As Vice President, I worked extensively with the team towards creating a pathway that ensures Nigeria achieves its goal of net zero emissions by 2060. This work eventually resulted in Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan (ETP), a data-based, strategic, clean energy transition plan in Africa, and the Energy Transition Office, which works tirelessly towards successfully implementing the plan. The twin problem of energy access and climate change simply cannot be solved independently by developing countries. I saw this first-hand while working on Nigeria’s decarbonisation journey plan. We need partners at different levels,” the immediate past Vice President said.

Prof. Osinbajo admitted that “there is still much to be done with the current energy transition to preserve the planet. This transition process affords us the opportunity to address climate change and expand energy access for all, regardless of their geographical location or socio-economic background.”

In his own remarks, Simon Harford, the CEO of GEAPP stated that the choice of Osinbajo as a Global Advisor is because “His Excellency is a phenomenal advocate, champion and case study for how a government, region and continent should think about this (climate change). That way of thinking, harnessing governments, and working together as governments is an enormous skill and background that he has that we can benefit from at GEAPP.”

He also emphasised the business opportunities inherent in clean energy, “it is jobs, it is manufacturing. There is a problem to be addressed but there is a profound solution and opportunity.”