Over $5 billion is said to be heading to Africa with Nigeria as focus in the new energy sector. For this reason, Nigerian entrepreneurs and inventors have been urged to position themselves to attract pieces of the funds to boost their stake in the energy of the future.
This was the major highlight at a day seminar and pitching in Shell’s hash tag, #makethefuture, a new energy scheme worldwide to maintain the search for new energy, which took place at the Shell Residential Area in Port Harcourt recently.
One of the resource persons, an expatriate, Wiebe Boer, the CEO of AllOn, said some funding groups had made available over $5 billion in Africa to help fund new energy schemes, in addition to the funds being invested by AllOn, which he said was based in Lagos but focusing on other key cities in Nigeria.
Boer named other funds as the $1.5 billion Breakthrough Energy Fund from Bill Gates, saying, “This fund focuses on any business that reduces carbon emission.” He also mentioned the $2 billion Rise Fund by Mo Ibrahim Group, which he said was focused on off-grid energy and other allied energy schemes.
The CEO of AllOn said there was the $500 million African Development Fund for renewable energy for Africa, and the AFC $1 billion fund for green infrastructure for Africa.
In all of these, he said Nigeria is always the big focus. “There is a lot of money that is coming on stream to take energy companies to the next level.” He said the future of energy in Nigeria is going to be shaped by recent policies unveiled in Nigeria. The approval of imbedded power system and supply for Gencos to supply directly to bulk consumers will lead to a revolution.
He advised entrepreneurs in Nigeria to focus on building customer base and efficient delivery of the new energy so as to be attractive to the funds coming and to partner with foreign investors. He was not keen on local manufacture in Nigeria, saying cost production was too high in Nigeria while China had already started producing at cheaper rates.
He made it clear that investors in the energy industry in Nigeria have a big industry. “The energy picture in Nigeria shows that there is plenty room for improvement and that is what motivates investors and inventors. You have about 4000 mw to serve about 192m people. Some other countries competing with Nigeria have 1000mw for one million persons. Records show that 40 percent of power generated in Nigeria is not paid for. For an investor, 120 million people are not getting power, and this is getting worse.”
He went on: “Nigeria has the best entrepreneurs in the world. Many SMEs are sourcing their own power. Energy has emerged as course of many development problems in Nigeria. There is huge opportunity for small-scale power centres to supply a cluster. Solar energy technology is therefore very important in this situation and strategy.”
Boer went on: “Several international funds are targeted at or heading to Africa, and this is a great window for the emerging alternative energy entrepreneurs and inventors. So, position yourself and connect with these funds and link with the consumers and customers.”
Reacting, Shell’s general manager, external relations, Igo Weli, urged Nigerian entrepreneurs not to shy away from any aspect of the new energy business, including manufacturing. He said Nigerian could overcome any obstacles and therefore join in production, not just limited to agency roles.
Earlier, Weli had said: ““I am pleased to inform you that two Nigerian beneficiaries of our LiveWIRE programme emerged winners in the 2017 edition. Three beneficiaries equally won the 2017 pitching contest in the LiveWIRE #Makethefuture Accelerator event held in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, about two weeks earlier.
“And, between 2010 and December 2017, five beneficiaries have won the LiveWIRE International ‘Go and Trade Enterprise Linkage Award which enabled them to make international visits to London in the UK, Dubai, and neighbouring Ghana.”