Osinbajo’s debt-for-climate swap win-win for all, Akande explains

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo SAN, as he arrived in the United States, held a pre-briefing session with his team and others which include SEForALL CEO, Damilola Ogunbiyi, SAD Infrastructure, Ahmad Zakari (from his right), Deputy Chief of Staff, Ade Ipaye, SSA Media Laolu Akande (from his left), in Washington DC, USA, on Wednesday, August 31, 2022. Photo: Statehouse/Tolani Alli

By Kehinde Adeoye

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, has further explained the debt-for-climate swap deal being pushed by his principal, Nigeria’s Vice President, to be a win-win for everyone.

Akande shed more light on climate issues and the proposals presented by the Vice President, when he featured on the Channels TV morning show, Sunrise Daily,  connecting live on the programme from the United States, on Tuesday, September 6, 2022.

He said the debt-for-climate swap deal is a win for the international community already committed to this climate change adaptation, and equally committed along with Nigeria to achieving the net-zero emissions goal by 2060.

While responding to questions regarding Vice President Osinbajo’s trip on seeking support for Nigeria’s energy transition plan in his trip to the United States, Akande said that the VP’s proposals were received and appreciated by the agencies contacted, including the United States Vice President, Kamala Harris, who he said had great words for Prof Osinbajo and Nigeria’s launch of the project.

He said: “The Vice President had series of meetings last week in Washington, DC, he met with the World Bank President, some of the leaders from International Monetary Fund (IMF), he met with the US Secretary for Treasury, Janet Yellen, we met with Samantha Power, who is the administrator for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and of course, he also met with Kamala Harris, the Vice President of the United States, and essentially, he was showcasing the energy transition plan in every meeting.

“In his meetings with the World Bank and the US officials, it was clear that they welcome and appreciated the thoroughness of Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan.

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“So, far Samantha Power, she spoke very delightedly about the debt-for-climate swap, saying that she found it to be fresh thinking and something worth taking a good look at just like Mr Mark George said, a lot of these developed countries already have a lot of commitment that they have not been able to meet up with. So the debt-for-climate deal seems to offer a win-win solution for everybody.

“The reception and the responses have been quite impressive and you could remember the previous week just before he travelled to the US, the Energy Transition Plan had been launched and at the launching, we already had a commitment of about $3 billion to support the plan so we had $1.5 billion from the World Bank and another $1.5 billion being committed by a US company, Sun Africa.”

Speaking further, Akande said: “Vice President’s meeting went very well, a lot of promises were made to review the Energy Transition Plan and to see how we can have collaboration which we need, whether it is the debt-for-climate deal the Vice President is proposing or how to open up the carbon market to African countries so that we can get credit for some of the pro-climate change development that we do.”

Akande also spoke about what looked like an interesting highlight of Vice President Kamala Harris and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s meeting at the White House and why the conversation became a lot more interesting between both of them.

He said: “One of the interesting things that happened in the White House meeting was that, of course, it turned out that both Vice Presidents were formerly Attorney General of big states in their countries, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo former Attorney General in Lagos State and Vice President Kamala Harris, former Attorney General of the State of California, so beyond the official interaction, you could observe that they had very interesting and useful meetings.”

Akande noted that the plan will not only benefit Nigeria but the continent at large.

“Essentially this plan, the Energy Transition Plan is getting a lot of positive reviews and we are very confident that not only will some of this proposal at CGD and all of it, not only will it go through for Nigeria, but it will also be very helpful to African countries and several other developing countries of the world.”

Recall that the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan was launched on August 24, 2022, by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, as a home-grown, data-backed, multipronged strategy developed for the achievement of net-zero emissions in terms of the nation’s energy consumption.