By Ikenna Omeje
One of Nigeria’s energy giants, Sahara Group, has advocated for stakeholders collaboration in the design and adoption of enforceable policies and regulation to effectively tackle the menace of climate change in Africa.
This was stated by the Director, Governance and Sustainability, Sahara Group, Pearl Uzokwe, in Lagos. According to her, while it was commendable that some African nations had started implementing several environmental protection policies, the continent requires “holistic and tailored multi-stakeholder cooperation to achieve sustainable milestones.”
A data by the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that , 9 out of 10 people in the world are exposed to polluted air and worse still, air pollution kills 7 million people each year. A new World Bank report found that air pollution costs the global economy more than $5 trillion annually in welfare costs, with the most devastating damage occurring in the developing world.
Uzokwe said Africa needs to establish incentives that promote investments in renewable energy, pollution control technologies, energy efficiency and clean production mechanism to combat air pollution effectively. “Quite impressively, we have seen policies targeted at increasing industrial energy efficiency and reducing fuel sulphur content for refined petroleum products (Afri4); increasing investments in public and non-motorized transport systems and improving access to clean cooking and heating fuels. What we need now is a higher level of commitment and cooperation from governments, energy companies, regulators, civil society and other stakeholders to ensure these policies are backed by laws and enforced as appropriate across the continent,” she said.
Uzokwe said Sahara’s commitment to protecting the environment inspired the recent partnership between Sahara Energy Resources DMCC Dubai and Brooge Petroleum and Gas Investment Co (BPGIC) geared towards setting up an oil refinery with up to 250,000 barrel per day capacity to produce clean bunker fuel in the Emirate of Fujairah. The facility will be one of the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa to comply with the new regulations of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) 2020 by capping sulfur content in shipping fuels. Working through West Africa Gas Limited (WAGL), a Joint Venture between Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Sahara Group, the energy conglomerate contributes to the supply of Liquefied Natural Gas to enhance access to clean and safe energy in Africa via WAGL’s ultramodern vessels, MT Africa Gas and MT Sahara Gas.
In addition, the company recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to facilitate access to affordable and sustainable energy in Africa.
UNDP and Sahara Group join forces following the signing of Memorandum of Understanding to promote sustainable energy and SDGs in Africa.
“Sahara Group is constantly reviewing its business practices to promote effective environmental governance, resource efficiency and ecosystem management. We are passionate about pursuing and promoting multi stakeholder collaboration between regional and global organisations to drive the achievement of Goals 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and 13 (Climate Action) across the world,” Uzokwe added.