L-R: Prof. Anthony Okon Nyong,Director, Climate and Green Growth Department, AfDB & Prof. Sani Abubakar Mashi, Director General/CEO of NiMet during a courtesy visit to NiMet
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB), has expressed its desire to help strengthen Nigerian Meteorological Agency’s (NiMet) capacity to provide services in the area of early warning systems and climate change mitigation. This was disclosed during a recent visit to the agency’s headquarters by a delegation from the bank group.

In his opening remark, the head of the delegation and Director, Climate and Green Growth Department, AfDB, Prof. Anthony Okon Nyong said that the AfDB had noticed the important role NiMet plays in Nigeria’s growth policy to ensure that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan is achieved. He noted that various key stakeholders like the Department of Climate Change at the Federal Ministry of Environment have acknowledged the important role that NiMet plays in ensuring that the objectives of their department vis-à-vis that of the entire nation are met. This development, he explained necessitated the need to assist NiMet access Climate Financing Fund through its ClimDev-Africa Special Fund (CDSF).

In a brief on the activities of the CDSF, Prof. Nyong said that the AfDB, through the ClimDev has put in $30 million in the first round of intervention to strengthen infrastructure in five regional centres in Africa and another $20 million in the second round for equipment. He explained that the idea for the intervention is for the regional centres to be strong enough to support national meteorological centres.

Prof. Nyong disclosed that “the third round we are going into, will go to support the development of specific services that will further help benefitting countries. I believe that NiMet stands to partner and benefit from this funding to help support Nigeria’s projects with the climate rationale that will allow the country to have access to global financial resources that are available. I also believe that this will further strengthen the capacity within NiMet to continue to do the good work you are currently doing, or even excel beyond what you are doing. This mission therefore, was to have this conversation, to tell you about this initiative and our desire to see that NiMet becomes part of the institutions that ClimDev is supporting”, he concluded.

In his response, the Director General/CEO of NiMet, Prof. Sani Abubakar Mashi, expressed appreciation for the interest shown by the AfDB. He then gave a summary of the activities NiMet is currently engaged in, that part of the mandate given to NiMet includes adaptation to climate change, an issue he said NiMet is concerned about. The agency is working to meet with the expectations of the UNFCC, he said explaining further that NiMet must not only monitor the sources, particularly carbon and other constituents that contribute to climate change, but must also be able to monitor and see the extent to which the various mitigating measures that are being applied are helping to reduce the problem.

“When you look at the air quality monitoring stations that we have in the country, they are relatively few. The land mass of the country is enormous, its over 930,000 sqr kilometers and if you go by the standard of WMO, we are supposed to have over 9000 stations”. He stressed.

Prof. Mashi observed that NiMet needs to move towards increasing the density of the stations and this has led to a number of challenges that are either technical or administrative by nature, adding that some are within the capacity of NiMet to easily handle. He however, said that some areas like the technical instrumentation would definitely require partnership with organisations like the AfDB that can assist the agency with the capacity to establish and run these stations.

“Some other areas, especially relating to technical instrumentation and other areas definitely require partnership with anybody that can assist the agency in order to strengthen our capacity to establish these stations, such would be highly welcomed and appreciated. This is one particular area I think our partnership with AfDB will become handy and we are happy that you are thinking in the same direction”. He said and assured that NiMet is willing to cooperate with AfDB particularly in the area of early warning and climate change adaptation.