March 2, 2024

Ajay Banga, World Bank President , Damilola Ogunbiyi CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, and Co-Chair of UN-Energy accompanied by Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, Managing Director of Nigeria Rural Electrification Agency, and investors

 

Oredola Adeola

 

Ajay Banga, World Bank President has reiterated the bank’s commitment to mobilizing finance for energy, climate, and development goals through its new Private Sector Investment Lab, in Nigeria and other African countries.

 

Banga made this statement in Abuja at the weekend, during his first visit to Nigeria in his new role.

 

EnergyDay gathered that the Private Sector Investment Lab, which was announced in June, was created to identify and focus on specific approaches that can be implemented and scaled by the World Bank to mobilize capital more effectively, with the goal of crowding in greater levels of private finance.

 

 

The lab will be led by Banga and will work to bring private funds to climate and development finance. The plan was launched in 2022, detailing pathways, including investment needs, for significant low-carbon development of energy systems across five key sectors in Nigeria: power, cooking, transport, industry, and oil and gas.

 

 

He emphasised that his mission as the new World Bank President is to write a new playbook for the 78-year-old institution, and his global tour is an early step in achieving this goal.

 

He has asked the bank’s staff to “double down” on development and climate efforts as he seeks to accelerate the bank’s evolution to tackle the most pressing global problems. He has also pledged to partner with the African Development Bank for transformative results.

 

Banga, who doubles as the Chairman of the lab, has invited staff to help him write a new playbook, think creatively, take informed risks, and forge new partnerships with civil society and multilateral institutions to achieve the institution’s ambitions.

 

 

Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, and Co-Chair of UN-Energy who was appointed as a founding member of the Lab during the roundtable session in Abuja on Friday discussed some of the roles of the private sector in delivering universal energy access.

 

According to her,  SEforALL is ready to provide our expertise and support towards catalyzing private capital to close energy access gaps and achieve a clean energy transition.

 

She said, “Renewable energy solutions hold the key to a sustainable future, and I am pleased that the World Bank, through Ajay Banga’s leadership, is focused on scaling transition finance in renewable energy and infrastructure in the Global South, while addressing the barriers preventing private sector investment in emerging markets.”

 

Participants at the session highlighted the wide spectrum of investment opportunities in both grid-based and distributed renewable energy (DRE) solutions that exist in Nigeria and across Africa.

 

 

EnergyDay gathered that the lab will begin work in the coming months. A dedicated Energy Transition Office has been established to drive the plan’s activation and has already secured USD 3.5 billion for its underlying projects.

 

Banga, Ogunbiyi accompanied by Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, Managing Director of Nigeria Rural Electrification Agency, and investors visited innovative clean energy projects near the city of Abuja to showcase the viability of such projects and how they might be replicated elsewhere.  The projects were at two local mini-grid sites.