By Udeme Akpan

THERE are indications that  Nigeria will not be able to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) because of inadequate and unstable power supply.

Buhari, AfCFTA
President Muhammadu Buhari signing the Assembly of the Union on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria while other officials witnessed the signing during the 12th Extraordinary session and the First Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union at the Palais des Congres, Niamey, Niger Republic. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida 07

In a statement sent to Vanguard, Mr Yomi Falana, Business Representative of StarCore Nuclear Inc in Nigeria, stated: “The AfCFTA is aimed at boosting intra-Africa trade among African countries from the current level of 16 per cent to 80 per cent or more. However, the full benefits of the AfCFTA agreement to Nigeria may not be realized until the problems of the power sector are fully addressed.

“The Nigerian government should demonstrate a renewed zeal to solve the power sector problems in order to re-position Nigeria amongst the leading industrializing countries capable of satisfying the ever-increasing demand for power supply required by many industries and factories in the country. It follows, therefore, that Nigeria’s aspiration to become one of the largest economies in the African continent will not be realized without attaining the appropriate level of electricity supply to pursue aggressive industrialization.

Also read: Diversification: Pressure mounts on FG to establish more Free Trade Zones

“Canadian Company StarCore Nuclear Inc. has proposed to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the rollout of 23 small modular reactors (SMRs) nuclear power stations to help provide electricity supply which will be accessible to millions of Nigerians who currently have unreliable or no access to the electricity power supply.

“Per head of population, Nigeria is one of the least-electrified nations and the current system is struggling to keep up with the demand for electricity by its 200 million people and growing day by day.”(AfCFTA)

He stated: “The StarCore Nuclear proposal will, especially, benefit the more remote areas of the country where the grid infrastructure is less reliable compared with those close to the state capital cities. The proposal comprises the erection of 23 microgrids across the more remote regions of the country, thus minimising, or even eliminating, the expenditure that the government will need to make on electricity infrastructure in those target areas.

“The StarCore Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) design is inherently safe, as judged by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which means it cannot overheat and would shut down automatically when there is a problem in operation, given that the plant is fully automated. Furthermore, the plant is passively secure and as a result, it is extremely hard to damage by force, sabotage or terrorism. It is gas-cooled, so it does not need water for cooling – important for the remote parts of Nigeria and is cheaper than the existing off-grid or edge-of-grid power and can match or lower many on-grid power prices.”

He added: “Other advantages are that it can also provide carbon-free electricity, heat energy for industries which would otherwise require burning fossil fuel, and abundant purified water for irrigation and those people without clean water sources.”

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