Nigeria to Declare State of Energy Emergency

Laura McNamara

The energy sector is, as Nigeria’s Honorable Peter Odebunmi puts it, “the bane of our non development.” Peter is a Representative of the Federal Repbulic of Nigeria. He says Nigeria lacks an adequate energy supply, which increases costs and makes domestic goods uncompetitive in the global market. That’s why, he says, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua plans to declare a state of emergency within Nigeria’s energy sector. The hope, Peter says, is to drive more investment in the country’s energy resources.

Water is one resource of particular importance for Peter. He explains Nigeria is not properly managing its existing dams. Peter says his country needs to develop its water infrastructure because Nigeria’s access to safe water is still considerably low. He adds that a working water infrastructure is key to developing African agriculture and empowering the African people.

The 2008 U.S. Africa Agribusiness Forum is meant to facilitate such development. Peter says representatives from countries all across Africa are met with public and private investors in Chicago to learn how American agribusiness works and apply what they learn in Africa.

Peter says, right now, Africa faces constraints in technology and financing because members of parliament, or Nigeria’s representatives of the people, do not have access to what he calls “elitist” information. Information, he says, that reveals how to attract foreign investment.

Producing surplus and exporting that surplus is one of the key concepts Peter says he has learned more about during the forum. Peter want to take the concept of value-added agriculture to Nigeria, encouraging local, family farmers to produce a surplus so Nigeria can increase its exports.

I spoke with Peter during the forum. You can listen to my interview with Peter here:
usafag-08-odebunmi.mp3

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