|Africa News Digest
Iran To Cooperate with Nigeria on Nuclear Power Technology
Aug. 31 (EIRNS)Iran agreed on Aug. 28 to share nuclear technology with Nigeria, to expand Nigeria's disastrously low electricity generation capacity. This agreement, in addition to several other agreements for economic cooperation between the two nations, resulted from the third Iran-Nigeria joint economic commission meeting which opened in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on Aug. 26. The joint economic commission meetings have been held to consider expansion of economic and trade cooperation between the two nations.
At the beginning of the meeting, Nigeria's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Tijani Kaura, noted that there are areas of potential cooperation between the two countries which include "nuclear energy for peaceful uses, human capital development and training ... including skills acquisition for small-scale enterprises and agro-allied industries," and called for an action plan for speedy implementation of decisions made at the three economic mission meetings.
Kaura said that Nigeria's need for additional electrical power generation was an urgent matter. The problem has become so severe that much of the country goes without electricity for weeks. This is despite the fact that Nigeria has the seventh-largest gas reserves in the world, estimated at roughly 180 trillion cubic feet, according to Reuters.
Nigeria's electrical output has plunged from 3,000 MW last year, to less that 1,000 MW now, reportedly because of maintenance problems at power stations, according to Reuters. By comparison, South Africa has more than ten times the capacity, with a third of Nigeria's population. The single nuclear-powered electric-power plant that Iran is building near Bushehr, is scheduled to produce 1,000 MW when it comes online next year, more than is being produced in all of Nigeria now, which has a population of 140 million. The Nigerian government considers the lack of electrical power generation a major factor hindering the development of the country.
The Deputy Head of Marketing and Trade of Iranian Ministry of Commerce, Mohammad Ali Zeyghami, led Iran's delegation, and attacked the idea of limiting advanced technology to the developing sector. According to an Aug. 28 Associated Press report, he stated, "Nobody can limit the use of knowledge anywhere in the world," adding, "We not only consider [nuclear energy] an Iranian inalienable right, but also Nigeria's right to use this clean source of energy."