Nigeria has $250 billion potential in green economy which could play a vital role, as the nation explores ways of tackling its high unemployment rate, participants at a confab on green investments.
According to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) green economy is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. In a green economy, growth in employment and income are driven by public and private investment into such economic activities, infrastructure and assets that allow reduced carbon emissions and pollution, enhanced energy and resource efficiency, and prevention of the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Participants at the forum, organised by the Nigeria Climate Innovation Center (NCIC) in Lagos recently, said entrepreneurs can tap into the enormous opportunities in the green space to create millions of jobs.
They said with the direct consequences of climate change on the ecosystem, it was imperative that entrepreneurs leverage the opportunities in the green space to create solutions and wealth.
The Chief Executive Officer of All On, Weeber Boer said, "Nigeria has power gaps of about $200 billion, agricultural waste of 40 per cent and 200 million people creating waste that is not recycled.
Boer said, "This shows that there is a huge investment opportunity in the country's green economy that entrepreneurs can tap into by creating solutions that are viable and sustainable to these challenges."
He stated that with more solutions being provided to address issues of climate change, the country would be able to create new jobs and scale the opportunities in the green economy.
He noted that it would be difficult for the country to build a green economy if the government continued to subsidise petrol.
The Chief Executive Officer of NCIC, Bankole Oloruntoba said the global green economy is a multitrillion dollar economy which the country's entrepreneurs can harness through innovative solutions to climate change challenges.
"If Nigeria is able to develop conduceive environment for the growth of the green economy, the country could have a massive share from the over $14 trillion global green economy," Oloruntoba said.
He said, "In Nigeria the challenges are enormous and if we can create some form of opportunities to support businesses in that space in terms of capacity, it will create a rival opportunity for the country to build an economy that does not depend on crude oil.
"The green economy gives the country the opportunity to create more jobs and there are lots of opportunities in the green space with covers from media, to transportation, to waste management and even to educate among others."
He stated that the NCIC is already providing support to start-ups that are creating solutions to issues of climate change in the form of technical training to help them scale.
He said his organisation was planning to create a fund for businesses in the green space with the help of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Bob Patterson, Charge d' Affaires of Ireland said his country would continue to support Nigeria in growing its own green space.
"Agricultural practices are significant and major contributors of climate change and we must find ways to address this," Patterson said.
"We are committed to supporting diversification within agriculture and land use to develop sustainable and circular value chains and business models for lower carbon intensifying farming," he noted.
Also at the event, there was a pitch competition for entrepreneurs in the green space. Home Fort Energy emerged as the winner of the 2019 Climate Launch Pad Nation Finals pitch competition.
Home Fort Energy beat other 15 entrepreneurs to win the award with its clean gas business model that is helping low income household switch from dirty fuels to cook gas for as low as N500.
Home Fort Energy, Agrimax - first runner up, and Green Axis - second runner up-- will represent Nigeria later this year at the Global Launch Pad Finals pitch competition in Amsterdam, Netherlands.