Cross-border charcoal trade in selected east, central and southern African countries: A call for regional dialogue

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Key lessons

  • Cross-border trade in woodfuel in certain African countries is increasing, undermining national and subnational efforts to sustainably manage woodfuel resources.
  • National bans and restrictions on exports, combined with legalized imports, are contributing to a shifting of supply basins to neighbouring countries further afield.
  • Significant amounts of woodfuel trade operate through informal or illegal, unknown and unregulated channels, leading to huge losses in government revenue.
  • To avoid further marginalizing women and other groups that are vulnerable to exploitation, efforts to improve transparency must include targeted solutions that differentiate between large- and small-scale traders.
  • Key state and non-state stakeholders from neighbouring countries should actively develop strategies for sustainable woodfuel production and trade that support national and regional natural resource management strategies. The success of such trade depends on the adoption of enduring and harmonized regulatory institutional mechanisms at regional and continental levels.


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