By Kingsley Okoye
Mr Denys Gauer, Ambassador of France to Nigeria, said that the French Development Agency dedicated 370 million euros for soft loans to support the development of Nigeria’s power sector .
Gauer announced this at the sixth Nigerian Alternative Energy Expo in Abuja on Wednesday.
The expo, with the theme: “Embracing Sustainable Energy for Sustainable Growth,“ was designed to forge new partnerships on how to develop further the power industry.
He said the French government was committed to supporting Nigeria’s effort to develop renewable energy in the country.
The envoy expressed the belief that an increase in the electricity production was key to the diversification of the country’s economy.
Diversification to other energy mix is the solution to the energy challenges in the country.
“But Nigerians must give priority to renewable energy, either solar, or biomass among others; those are the solutions for the future.“
The financial support is designed to provide soft loans to develop the generation, transmission and distribution value chains of the nation’s electricity.
The French government has also committed finances to develop some renewable energy projects like solar projects in Osun and wind projects in Katsina states.
The envoy said that some French companies were also ready to finance important large solar energy and biomas projects in the Nigeria.
According to him, France has been committed to helping Nigeria and other African countries to develop its power sector.
“We have worked very closely with the Nigeria authorities; we have helped Nigeria participate in several multilateral initiatives on renewable initiatives.”
He said that the African initiatives for renewable energies were designed to increase the share for renewable energies from 28 to 48 per cent in 2017 for the whole ECOWAS region.
There is also an international solar alliance by France and India to mobilise financial needs for solar needs in the agriculture sector.
He said it was important for Nigeria to intensify effort to the develop renewable energy potentials in the country
President Muhammadu Buhari and French President Francois Hollande on May 14, signed a N14 billion loan agreement for capacity-building and upgrade of power training facilities in Nigeria.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed during the visit of President Hollande to Abuja for the Second Regional Summit.
The agreement covers a 46.2 million-dollar subsidised loan granted by France Developmewnt Agency (AFD) to enhance vocational training in the power sector and a 100 million dollars subsidised line of credit granted by AFD to Zenith Bank, dedicated to the financing of investments of electricity distribution companies