Nigeria’s Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun has accused western nations of interfering with the government’s efforts to develop the country’s struggling power sector, reports ThisDay. She reportedly made the remarks in Washington, D.C. Wednesday at a meeting between World Bank and IMF officials. Adeosun said the Nigerian government was working hard at overcoming its perennial power supply shortages, but efforts to utilize its vast coal deposits had been repeatedly scuttled by several western powers, who insist on nit-picking on whatever methods Nigeria chooses to adopt.
“We are being blocked from doing so, because it is not green. This is not fair because they have an entire western industrialization that was built on coal fired energy,” she said.
“This is the competitive advantage that was used to develop Europe, yet now that Nigeria wants to do it, they say it’s not green, so we cannot,” she added.
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Adeosun’s made her remarks during a discussion panel titled “Towards Better Infrastructure in Developing Countries.” She emphasized the need for policy consistency and urged western nations to shun their hypocrisy in dealing with Africa:
“We also do need consistency of policies by the multilateral institutions and western countries. Let me give you an example. In Nigeria, we have coal and there is coal power…yet, we are being blocked. I think there is some hypocrisy in that. Yes, we are going to have the narrative around infrastructure and we must invest in infrastructure, but we must also make sure the playing field is level. The west cannot say after polluting the atmosphere for 100 years, and when Africa wants to explore its resources, they say no. If we want to stop coal, those who started it over 200 years ago, should first stop using coal before telling us to stop. This is because by doing so, you are only pushing us to the cycle of underdevelopment.”
Despite the reluctance of western nations to partner with Nigeria on its coal-to-power projects, several European countries continue to depend on coal for a significant part of their energy needs, including Poland, Germany, and the United Kingdom. And despite its public stance on promoting clean energy, the United States has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty meant to cut greenhouse emissions and combat the threat of global warming.