By Victoria Onehi
President Muhammadu Buhari says Africa requires a huge amount of energy generation to drive development.
President Buhari stated this at the just concluded Nigeria- Africa Natural Resources and Energy Investment Summit ( NAFNIS) at the International Conference Centre,Abuja.
Buhari who was represented by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development Arch.Olamilekan Adegbite said Africa was required to have huge energy generation because the “world is shifting away from fossil fuel to clean and renewable energy sources to drive its development.
“I am delighted to see various African nationals gathering here to deliberate and create a framework within which future cooperation and collaboration can take place.
“We should come up with technologies and products that will lead to the growth and industrialisation of Africa in a more environment-friendly manner while encouraging the development and financing of green energy projects.
“With the view of maximising these opportunities, to create wealth, grow the GDP and expand opportunities available to Nigerians. The mining sector is the backbone of industrialisation of the economy.” Olamilekan said.
The Minister further noted that Nigeria has the 12th largest steel deposits in the world with more than 3 billion tonnes resources in Kogi, Enugu, Zamfara and Kaduna States.
Corroborating this, the Group Managing Director, African Natural Resources and Mines Limited, Alok Gupta, who was represented by Head Mining,Mr Partha Ghosh, said there are many opportunities yet to be tapped in the mining and steel sector.
“Annually $3.3 billion is still spent on steel imports which impact the economy. With focusing on steel Nigeria can reduce dependency on imports and the economy would become a major player in global markets.”Ghosh said.
He disclosed that his company has established a fully-integrated mining and steel processing plant in Gujeni Village in Kagargo Local Government Area of Kaduna State, with mining capacity of over 5 million tonnes per annum. This he said is Nigeria’s largest foreign direct investment of $600 million, and will employ over 4000 Nigerians.
He disclosed that the Steel company will be commissioned later this year.
In his Keynote address,the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Chief Timipre Sylva, said Energy propels economic growth. ” That makes energy security synonymous with optimum and sustainable economic growth. Energy is an indispensable ingredient for human development and socio-economic prosperity. It is central to jobs creation, security, health, and other challenges facing humans.
” This is why access to energy is prominently addressed in the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, SDG 7 focusses on access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, as a fundamental right.”Sylva said.
In his remarks, one of the panelist and Director General of the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency, NGSA, Dr Abdulrazaq Garba, speaking on “maximising mineral potential” explained that data generation is the heart of the mining sector.
Also, another panelist and Director General Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office, Simon Nkom said the essence of the summit is to be able to develop Africa, particularly Nigeria. He added that in view of that, the federal government in its determination to diversify the economy identified the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development as a strategic industry that will bring about growth and development.
The three-days summit brought together stakeholders from the Energy, Mining, Finance, Oil and Gas sector to chart a way forward for the development of natural resources and energy projects in a sustainable and climate friendly manner.
The Minister of Mines and Energy from Ethiopia, South Sudan, Gambia, Libya, Kenya, Chad, and Nigeria’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada were among stakeholders attended the summit.
The theme of the Energy Investment Summit: is “Towards a Greener Africa” with high-powered panel sessions, keynote addresses, and exhibitions by stakeholders within and outside the continent..