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Political/Economics Officer Briana Olson Keynote Address at the 7th Nigeria Energy Forum
July 22, 2022

Your Excellencies;

Distinguished guests;

Ladies and gentlemen;

All other protocols observed.

Good morning, my name is Briana Olson, Political/Economics Officer with the U.S. Embassy Lagos Consulate.  On behalf of the U.S. Government, I am pleased to speak with you here today as many of our US partner leaders meet with private sector and government representatives at the African Business Summit this week discussing the need for energy and financing innovation.

The importance of energizing the economy can never be over emphasized. Energy is needed to boost economic growth, improve livelihood, and promote sustainability. The U.S. government is committed to supporting national power sector reforms and achieving Nigeria’s electrification goals.

Political/Economics Officer, Briana Olson addressed participants at the 7th Nigeria Energy Forum. U.S. Consulate PhotosAlready, Nigeria has demonstrated its leadership in supporting a climate-conscious global energy future, including as a founding partner country in the new Net Zero World initiative. The United States looks forward to continuing to collaborate with other government counterparts, private sector partners, and civil society stakeholders to focus our collective efforts and resources on those lines of effort in which we can achieve real, concrete gains in the near-term.

Coordinated by the U.S. Agency for International Development, more commonly known as USAID, Power Africa is a U.S. government-led partnership that brings together the collective resources of over 170 public and private sector partners to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. Power Africa’s goal is to add more than 30,000 megawatts  of new electricity generation capacity and connect 60 million new homes and businesses to power by 2030. The U.S. government funded Power Africa Nigeria Power Sector Program works to increase energy access in Nigeria through four programmatic priorities.  We seek to: Increase private sector investment in power generation, and transmission; facilitate off-grid connections to cleaner power supply; improve the enabling environment for private sector participation in the power sector; and promote improved liquidity throughout the energy sector.  Furthermore, we are committed to gender equity, social inclusion, and women’s empowerment in the energy sector.

Since the inception of the program, over 2.9 million new on and off-grid connections have been achieved, almost 1,100 megawatts of new generation capacity have reached financial close, and over 4,000 people have been trained in the technical energy field, of which over 1,500 are women. We have increased the grid evacuation capacity by almost 1,300 megawatts and over US$2.3 billion have been mobilized for energy projects through the U.S. government assistance.

The U.S. government, through Power Africa, provides technical assistance and financial transaction advisory support to counterparts across the Nigerian energy sector value chain to energize economic growth and sustainability. Working with various counterparts like the Rural Electrification Agency and others across the value chain, I will be sharing just a few of the U.S. government initiatives in the energy sector, particularly in the off-grid segment in Nigeria with you. These initiatives cut across energizing the economy, healthcare electrification and unlocking access for business scale-up and finance. Here are a few examples of projects we are supporting:

First, energizing healthcare that aims to increase health care electrification with sustainable energy solutions across Nigeria with the potential to connect over 200 healthcare facilities to reliable electricity. We are collaborating across other U.S. government projects for example, the USAID Integrated Health Program (IHP) that is working with about 60 coalition members dedicated to increasing electricity access at Nigerian health care facilities. We do not work alone, we are coordinating with other development partners such as the World Bank and Rural Electrification Agency on health care COVID realignment and other organizations to proactively solve energy access challenges.

Political/Economics Officer, Briana Olson addressed participants at the 7th Nigeria Energy ForumWe also support the Nigeria Electrification Program (NEP), a private sector driven Federal Government of Nigeria initiative that seeks to bridge the energy access deficit by providing electricity to households, micro, small, medium enterprises, educational and healthcare facilities. We have engaged with a wide variety of investors to educate them on the NEP investment opportunity, beginning with an initial outreach to over 150 investors to compile indicative investment terms. Additionally, we support the development of tools for investors and mini-grid developers to facilitate project development and supporting potential investors through investor roadshows, workshops, and roundtables. To date, through our support to the NEP, more than 250 mini-grids are in construction, over 60 sites commissioned, more than 12,700 new mini-grid connections have been achieved, and 450,000 solar home systems have been deployed.

We also support the Energizing Economies Initiative (EEI), another Federal Government of Nigeria initiative.  Implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), this initiative aims to support the rapid deployment of off-grid electricity solutions to micro, small, medium enterprises in economic clusters through private sector developers and promote efficient, clean, safe, least cost, and sustainable power to catchment areas that have high growth impact on the economy. We developed a full toolbox of templates, guides, and tools for REA’s deployment of the EEI. The EEI Implementation Guide is one example of these resources outlining the key activities, roles, and responsibilities of various stakeholders involved in successfully executing program management as well as site deployment.

Further, we support Capacity Building by empowering off-grid clean energy companies to scale up through several technical assistance and training opportunities. We offer off-grid energy companies and individuals financial modeling training and increased financial fluency through financial modeling bootcamps, to help the off-grid companies navigate investment conversations with confidence and competency. We have an Investor Pitch Competition in which shortlisted companies deliver their investment pitch to a panel of investors judges currently seeking new investment opportunities in Nigeria’s off-grid sector. To date, in terms of the Investor Pitch Competition’s impact, around 54 investor conversations have been initiated and about US$2.8 million in financial commitments from investor judges have been obtained by participating companies.

In closing, these are just a few of the U.S. government activities in energizing the economy, and promoting energy security through the offgrid segment. On behalf of the U.S. government, I commend the relentless efforts and contributions of the energy sector stakeholder ensuring the light stays on. I look forward to more opportunities to learn about the tremendous work you are doing and I wish you well with this critically important forum. Thank you!