Bioenergy Development in Africa

Yet wind turbines are a rare sight in Africa, a continent with enormous energy needs and significant wind potential.

Programme on Bioenergy Monitoring and Reporting

Africa is the world’s largest consumer of traditional biomass energy sources (firewood, charcoal and agricultural residues). The percentage of solid fuel use (charcoal and firewood) in the region is the highest in the world. With an estimate population of 900 million people lacking clean cooking facilities and over 600 million lack access to electricity, two thirds of the African countries depend on more than 50% of total final energy consumption for biomass. One third is estimated to depend on the resource for more than 80% and a few countries for over 90%.

Biomass accounts for as much as two-third of total final energy consumption in the sub-Saharan region. According to AFREC Energy Statistics Database, the whole continent consumed 269 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) of biomass and 295 Mtoe of conventional energy in 2019.  Sub-Saharan region accounts for 91.38% of the total consumption in Africa while North Africa accounts for 0.22% and South Africa for 8.40%. Fire wood, including charcoal, is the most common and the most environmentally detrimental biomass energy source, accounting for about 45% of biomass energy consumption in the continent while charcoal accounts for about 3%.

Production and consumption of bioenergy has direct impacts on biodiversity, water and soil quality, as well as on a number of social and economic aspects of primary relevance for developing countries. However, in many countries, data collection is marred by a number of problems, including weak sectoral establishment and lack of financial, institutional and human capacity. Improving data collection and analysis is key to monitoring bioenergy sectoral trends over time, evaluating sustainability, and developing sound policies.

The objective of the programme is therefore to improve and enhance the capacity of the African countries to measure/collect and analyse bioenergy data and establish a strong system of continuous monitoring through the implementation of the Sustainability Indicators for Bioenergy (GSI) and related FAO best practices. The programme will also propose tailored recommendation and policies which individual country can implement to improve monitoring and sustainability of bioenergy production and consumption.

Specific objectives are:

  • Improve capacity of Member states, in the collection, analysis and monitoring of bioenergy data.
  • Assess and enhance the capacity of member states to measure the GSIs and use them to inform bioenergy policymaking.
  • Set the basis for a national platform for the long-term monitoring of bioenergy sustainability in member states
  • Develop tailored recommended policies for each beneficiary country to improve monitoring and sustainability of the bioenergy production and consumption, and provide support for implementation; and
  • Advise policy makers and engage stakeholders on best practices in bioenergy in order to maximize sustainability and contribute to adaptation to climate change.

To achieve this, the programme will:

  • Assess data availability and human and institutional capacity;
  • Familiarise stakeholders with key indicators and key associated concepts for bioenergy data management;
  • Tailor methodologies for measuring the indicators to country conditions;
  • Define a data collection strategy and fill major data gaps; 
  • Establish baseline values for the indicators;
  • Identify training needs and build capacity for continuous monitoring;
  • Facilitate multi-stakeholder discussion of baseline indicator values and their implications for policy objectives over the coming years; 
  • Developed tailored recommendation and policies for the beneficiary countries; and
  • Support beneficiary countries in transforming policy recommendations into effective policies.

Strategic Framework - African Bioenergy Data Management

Biomass Policy Brief and Bioenergy Framework

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