The Nigerian Government has spoken of its plans to seriously scale-up its green finance initiatives over the coming year.
This includes issuing green bonds worth $150 billion naira ($415 million) to help fund a range of sustainable and climate-sensitive projects.
Speaking at a conference in Lagos, Ahmad Salihijo, an adviser at the Ministry of Environment, commented:
“Everybody is excited about the idea of climate funding, everybody wants to be a part of it. Highly reputable organizations within and internationally are supporting us”.
He said the news was on the back of the country’s successful $10 billion naira issuance in December 2017. This original foray into climate financing is helping build three projects which tackle issues of reforestation and energy security.
“We will use the success of our first issuance to see how we can issue more. Where we are now, seeing the success of the first issue, our target this year is N150 billion. Already we are getting more proposals and support”
One of the new projects, the Energizing Education Programme, aims to provide reliable, off-grid power supplies to 37 universities and 7 university hospitals across the country. These will utilise renewable energy in the process, particularly solar and hydropower.
Nigeria, known for its oil-rich resources, has been developing its sustainable finance capabilities for over a year. The Environment Minister, Ibrahim Usman Jibril, commented last year that “climate change is real, and business, government and the capital market need to work together to slow its effects”.
The ratings agency, Moody’s, gave an ‘excellent’ grade to its original issuance as the government had created the structures needed to track how the proceeds were being used. It was also the first African country to offer a sovereign green bond, which was also certified by the Climate Bonds Initiative. The organisation expects the global green bond market to hit $300 billion this year, which at the moment has been dominated by European countries.