Foundation to hold conference on Nigeria’s debt, climate in July

The Heinrich Böll Foundation, Abuja Office, has scheduled 19 and 20 of July, 2023 to bring Nigerian civil society and other key stakeholders together to discuss the country’s ballooning debt, stunted development and climate challenges.

According to the Foundation, the two-day conference titled ”Debt, Development and Climate Challenges in Nigeria: Realities and Solutions,” aimed at, ”Unpack Nigeria’s debt situation in the context of the deepening debt crisis on the African continent”.

Further justifying the importance of the conference, in the invitation letter to DAILY COMMERCE, Jochen Luckscheiter, Director at Heinrich Böll Foundation, Abuja, noted that the conference will, ”Present reform proposals and processes at national and international levels that offer possible solutions to the debt crisis”.

Luckscheiter noted that the conference will discuss ways in which Nigerian civil society and the incoming government could further engage on the issues.

The letter read further:

”One of the key challenges Nigeria’s newly elected government is faced with, is the country’s ballooning debt burden. With debt reaching a historic high of NGN 44 trillion in September 2022, the costs of debt servicing have become a worrisome issue.

”In 2022, Nigeria spent over 80% of its federal revenue to service its debt; despite the debt-to-GDP ratio remaining below the self-imposed 40% mark. Additionally, the
structure of Nigeria’s external debt has changed, with a significant proportion now being commercial debt and bilateral debt to a large extent
owed to China rather than the countries of the Paris Club.

”The Nigerian economy, like many others worldwide, has been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic ripple effects of the war in Ukraine. As a result, an additional 5 million Nigerians fell into poverty in 2022, bringing the total to approximately 95 million people.

”Looking ahead, Nigeria’s medium to long-term economic outlook is equally concerning. Despite recent global energy price surges, Nigeria has been unable to increase its revenue due to high petrol subsidies (now phased out) and limited oil production.

”Moreover, the pace of the global energy transition away from fossil fuels poses fundamental risks to Nigeria’s fossil fuel-reliant economy.

”Given Nigeria’s significant debt burden, the country lacks the fiscal capacity to respond to climate induced emergencies, meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and transition its economy away from fossil fuels.

”The estimated financing gap for Nigeria to achieve the SDGs by 2030 is NGN125 trillion, while implementing the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution would require an estimated investment of
NGN 74 trillion. Existing international debt relief initiatives have faced criticism for not providing sufficient support to middle-income countries like Nigeria.

”In response, the Heinrich Böll Foundation Abuja Office, in collaboration with the African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), the Centre for the Study of Economies in Africa (CSEA), Good Governance Team and the Centre for Climate Change and Development (CCCD) invites you to a 2-Days Conference Workshop for CSOs.”

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