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Why efforts to clean up charcoal production in sub-Saharan Africa aren't working

By Eric Kumeh Mensah, Doctoral Researcher, University of Hohenheim
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Charcoal is an essential source of domestic fuel in many sub-Saharan African countries. Overall, the region produces 65% of the world’s charcoal, with Nigeria, Ethiopia and Ghana being the top three producers. The charcoal sector employs about 40 million people in the region. Smallholders are responsible for most charcoal production, and it’s an important safety net for most producers.

The average person in sub-Saharan Africa consumes 0.69 cubic metres of charcoal per year. That’s 2.5 times…

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