By Our Correspondent
The Cross River state Government and the Deutsche Gesellshaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (German Agency for International Cooperation) GIZ, yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to jointly improve sustainable access to electricity for rural communities in the state.
The cooperation which is part of the Nigerian Energy Support Program (NESP) funded by the European Union and the German Government and implemented by the GIZ and NESP, is aimed at improving the state’s electrification planning capacities and developing self-sustaining models that fosters the provision of electricity to rural communities using small scale renewable energy technologies.
It would be recalled that the Governor Liyel Imoke-led administration has since inception, provided electricity to 169 rural communities in the state.
Highlighting the benefit of electricity as one of the key components to economic growth, during the signing ceremony which took place at the Exco Chambers, the IZ Country Director, Dr. Thomas Kirsch, stated that “Electricity is key to socio-economic development,” stressing that
“The program will support the state government in its drive to provide power to more of its citizens in the state by using the abundant renewable energy resources.”
Governor Imoke, who was particularly excited that Cross River was able to scale the numerous hurdles to qualify as one of the five states in the country to benefit from the program, thanked the Country Director for what the program and GIZ offer to the people of the state.
According the Governor, “This particular project truly represents for us, a new intervention that could have tremendous impact in the lives and wellbeing of our people here in Cross River State.
That is why we must take it very seriously.”
On the partnership with GIZ, Imoke noted: “The partnership with GIZ is today going to be in the energy sector, but it will also provide us the opportunity for partnership in other sectors, some of which the Country Director has mentioned, focusing largely on economic development, key sectors such as agriculture, health and other areas for sustainable growth and poverty reduction.”
Continuing, Imoke disclosed that “this particular project could on its own be a project that when implemented, will impact clearly on the sectors I mentioned earlier,” while adding that “as we take off for this first project, we are hopeful that its impact on our people and our communities will be significant.”
Governor Imoke charged the partners to hit the ground running for the realization of the goals of the program now that the document had been signed. He said: “For us here in the Cross River, we believe very strongly in the partnerships between our development partners and ourselves and we find these partnership to be useful, not just in terms of financial support, which involves transfer of technology, capacity building and training, but tremendous support with best practice for sustainable development.”
Going by the content of the MoU, NESP is expected to support an efficient roll-out of electrification projects with least cost electrification plan for different communities in the state, taking into account their demand growth projections and economic potentials.
Additionally, NESP will assist in the development of up to two small scale renewable energy projects that demonstrate the viability of such solutions for the electrification of rural areas.
While welcoming the Country Director, Thomas Kirsch to the Calabar, the state Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke said: “The endorsement of the MoU, for us, represents a new beginning of in terms of our relationship with German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and of course, the strengthening of the already existing relationship with other institutions in Nigeria, particularly the Federal Ministry of Power and Steel as well as the private sector that is playing a key role now in the energy sector of our country.”
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