Climate Resilience and Low-Carbon Growth Critical for Nigeria’s Economic Future

June 10, 2013

ABUJA, June 10, 2013 - Nigeria’s economy can be made more climate-resilient and less carbon-intensive without foregoing growth, argue two new World Bank reports “Toward Climate-Resilient Development in Nigeria” and “Low-Carbon Development Opportunities for Nigeria,” released today.

These studies are the fruit of a two-year long collaboration between the World Bank and the Government of Nigeria to address the challenges posed by climate change to Nigeria.  The reports identify specific technologies and management practices that could be applied to key economic sectors, including agriculture and land use, water resources, oil and gas, power, and transport.

“The 2012 floods in Nigeria were a stark reminder of the vulnerability of our communities, infrastructure and economy to climate-induced natural disasters,” said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Federal Minister of Finance. “These studies will help inform decision-making across key sectors and levels of governments so that the economy becomes not only more productive but also more climate-resilient.” 

The reports contain a sobering finding: absent actions taken now, the impacts of climate change could hamper Nigeria’s ability to achieve its ambition -set out in Vision 20: 2020- of becoming one of the world’s 20 largest economies by 2020.

“The World Bank is privileged to have a strong partnership with the Government of Nigeria, and I am pleased that our latest collaborative effort takes a close look at climate change and its potential impacts on Nigeria, Africa’s second largest economy,” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria.

The good news is that a range of technological and management actions are available and offer promising opportunities to build resilience to climate change into the fabric of the economy, according to the reports.

Building a climate-resilient, low-carbon economy need not be at odds with growth,” said Jamal Saghir, the World Bank’s Director of Sustainable Development for the Africa Region. “To assist sound policy-making and better assessment of tradeoffs, these reports offer practical examples of win-win actions that Nigeria could consider adopting for achieving lasting development outcomes.”

Toward Climate-Resilient Development in Nigeria proposes ten practical short-term priority actions that could help to address the threats that climate change poses to Vision 20:2020. 

These actions include strengthening overall governance for climate action, enhancing agricultural research and extension services, integrating climate into the planning and design of water infrastructure, and promoting sustainable land management practices as part of the Government’s Agriculture Transformation Agenda.

 “If not addressed in time, climate change will limit Nigeria’s ability to achieve and sustain the goals set out in Vision 20: 2020,” said Raffaello Cervigni, Lead Environmental Economist and main author of the reports. “With concerted climate action, Nigeria can seize opportunities for increased cross-sectoral investments and policy reforms paving the way for climate-resilient, low-carbon growth.”

Low-Carbon Development Opportunities for Nigeria examines how “low carbon” technologies and management options could be mainstreamed into Nigeria’s development pathway over the next 25 years; and finds that Nigeria can stabilize carbon emissions at 2010 levels, while at the same time reaping significant national benefits. These include:

  • A more productive and climate-resilient agricultural sector
  • Cheaper and more geographically-balanced power generation
  • More efficient use of the country’s endowment of oil and gas resources
  • Better provision of transport services, resulting in improved air quality and lower congestion

The report points to specific low-carbon actions:

  •  Tapping into renewable energy and energy efficiency
  • Accelerating the reduction of harmful gas flaring
  • Scaling up sustainable land management practices for achieving higher yields in agriculture
  • Enhancing the fuel efficiency of vehicles and scale up mass transit, to make road transport cheaper and cleaner.

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