The ongoing trend of informal coal and fuel trade in Africa is creating demand

Coal shipment goes to Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo by Fiston Wasanga / CIFOR

The growing demand for coal and other wood in Central Africa has had far-reaching consequences for biodiversity and local communities, and a new briefing from the Center for International Forest Research and Agro-Forestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) calls on governments and other strategies. To ensure policy and implementation coordination. Lack of alignment between governments on official policies makes small businesses – especially women – vulnerable to exploitation.

“Neighboring countries need to actively coordinate their efforts to develop a sustainable charcoal and trade roadmap,” said Jolly Shure, co-author and co-author of CIFOR-ICRAF. “This can be built and integrated into regional natural resource management strategies.”

Currently, the regulation of wood fuel in Africa is largely focused on export restrictions and restrictions and complex legal requirements. Many governments, including Cameroon, Chad, Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia, have banned the export of coal. But instead of slowing down the trade, restrictions and bans have instead created an informal economy for small traders and sellers. This activity usually takes place in the evenings and on weekends, when bicycles and motorcycles carry small loads of unmanned wood to markets across the border.

For example, mining towns in northern Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are igniting a growing coal industry, depleting nearby forests and other forests.

According to Geoffrey Nyaga, a coal producer in northern Zambia Forest News, “We can no longer find a tree for charcoal. We destroyed everything and now we have no trees.

Many other African countries are also seeing large amounts of coal and firewood crossing borders. In Kenya, for example, a study estimated that 64,345 tons of coal worth $ 10 million a year were smuggled into the country. Similarly, more than 22,000 tons of charcoal from the Central African Republic to Cameroon were exported from Cameroon to Chad and Nigeria at a cost of $ 2,731,185.

Coal and firewood could add up to 60 percent of the energy needed to cook and heat sub-Saharan Africa. Africa’s population is expected to double by 2050.

“Energy and supplies have not kept pace with population growth, so this tendency to increase wood-fuel demand will not change,” Shure said.

The informal wood-fuel economy supports livelihoods and meets energy needs, but comes with significant costs. In Kenya, Cameroon, and Zambia – in short – those costs include deforestation, air pollution, and health hazards that are critical to climate change and biodiversity support, as well as unprofitable bricks and tax revenue. Lack of coordinated policies has also led to corrupt practices such as bribery of timber criminals and officials.

Cross-Country Coordinator and Secretary Walter Mungala said:

Mongalla’s comments highlight the need for national solutions that differentiate between large and small producers. These solutions will help to reduce land degradation and reduce cross-border conflicts due to increasing resources.

“This brief provides options for reversing this volatility and sustaining Reg’s sole dialogue in the Eastern, Central and South African regions,” Shure said. We can verify.s ”

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