October 24, 2019

Energy and Poverty

improvisation of infrastructures for survival are becoming the
Inorm as governments further recline chairs and create deep
chasms between them and the people. This edition of our newsletter
assembles instances of progress on development anchored on non-
government efforts but argues for a reintroduction of government. A
near exception to this observed trend is the Malian government’s
pact with a corporation for irrigation-driven farming, which is grow-
8ing the country to a regional hub for rice farming. Even that is with
private sector involvement.
In many other West African states, poverty is on the rise in spite of
a flourishing development aid industry with NGOs and quasi-
governmental organizations working with bilateral partners for
provision of water and healthcare. Some of the writers in this edition
argue that the paradigm for such interventions have been responsi-
ble for their ineffectiveness. A market-driven approach to develop-
ment, says Dr Hussaini Abdu [in this month’s CONVERSATION], will
not foster the much needed sustainable development. As Actionaid
Nigeria’s Country Director, Dr Abdu is concerned that most efforts
being executed represent palliatives, which do not address the root
causes of poverty. Paul Ahiave furthers this argument in a SPECIAL
REPORT which concludes that poverty is still in the rise, in spite of all.
Though the conclusions sound like platitudes, the writers in this
edition did not stop at analysis. Dr Abdu calls for a reintroduction of
the government into governance as the extant private-sector-led
paradigms demonstrate ineffectiveness. Oluchi Agbanyim’s x-ray of
the increased potentials for biogas argues that governments must
create subsidies for establishment and adoption of biogas for domes-
tic and small scale commercial applications, as exemplified by the
Ivorien government.
Thus, evidence seems to support the reemergence of strong,
accountable and participatory governments in West Africa. This
direction is epitomized in the report of a workshop organised in Abuja
by the Nigerian Ministry of Environment and the Swedish Embassy.
The workshop on “Sustainable City Development-Waste
Management and Waste to Energy” brought together the Swedish
government and Swedish companies with representatives of the
Nigerian government. It is hoped that this model replicated locally
will initiate a process that will change the region sustainably.

–Odoh Diego Okenyodo

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