Sustainable profit: Renewables rather than oil

By Thilo Werner

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, plans to build one of the world’s largest oil refineries. With the aim of transforming Nigeria’s economy, he could create up to 70,000 jobs.

But not only are the corruption of Nigeria’s political and economic elite, the Covid-19-pandemic and the collapse of the oil price difficult challenges that need to be faced to reach the aim of an independent and sustainable Nigerian economy. Moreover, Dangote’s project, portrayed as an alleged symbol of hope and Nigerian progress, is not sustainable, yet modern, at all.

The climate crisis is more urgent than ever before. Nigeria needs to invest in future-compliant and environmental-friendly technologies. Continuing to hold on to the refining business, thus blocking any progress and further worsening the Nigerian economic situation would be fatal. In the long term, the poorer sections of the Nigerian population would be particularly affected by the consequences of this energy policy.  

It may be true that the possible 70,000 jobs could be a basis of life for many Nigerian families. However, this blessing is only of short duration and will soon turn into a curse. Consequences of climate change as droughts, hunger, water shortage and natural disasters, always affect the parts of society with lower socioeconomic background first.

On a long term basis, the listed implications of climate change will also hit European countries, which have to face additional hurdles, such as climate-induced migration, that need to be taken in the next years.

By investing his assets in renewable and sustainable technologies rather than in the oil business, Dangote would help not only the Nigerian people, but all of humanity, to take a big step towards climate protection. Thus he would leave his grandchildren and generations to come a world worth living in.

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