Unpacking the evidence on firewood and charcoal in Africa

Charcoal sellers in Mozambique.World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) archives
Charcoal sellers in Mozambique.World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) archives

Woodfuel meets around a tenth of the world’s energy demand, with its users overwhelmingly found in sub-Saharan Africa. Here, nine out of ten people—around 760  million individuals—rely on firewood and charcoal as their primary source of energy for cooking, heating and other uses.

In 2007 charcoal was a US$8-billion industry, employing more than 7 million people in the sub-region, according to World Bank estimates. The  sector has been growing by around 3 percent annually since the turn of the 21st century, according to FAO data. Woodfuel as a source of energy, commerce and employment makes it an important socioeconomic asset to the continent. But woodfuels, and particularly charcoal, are also clouded by controversy and obscure regulation.Read more. . .

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