From: AFP
Published November 10, 2008 08:57 AM

Africa left behind in Kyoto carbon offset trade: experts

Administrative and technical problems mean that Africa cannot profit from schemes to tackle climate change through projects to cut carbon emissions in developing countries, climate specialists meeting in Dakar said.

According to the experts, who held a series of meetings Thursday and Friday, the continent is hampered by "administrative and technical limitations" of the so-called Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) which is part of the 1997 Kyoto agreement on cutting greenhouse gases.


The mechanism allows developed countries to offset their own carbon emissions by setting up projects to cut greenhouse gases in developing countries.

Cheikh Ndiaye Sylla, a senior official from the Senegalese environment ministry, told AFP that of the 1,192 CDM projects currently certified worldwide only 25 are in African countries, among them South Africa, Morocco, Nigeria and Tanzania.

These 25 projects represent only 2.27 percent of the CDM projects against 65 percent for Asian projects and 33 percent for Latin America and the Caribbean.

"People think it is too risky to invest in Africa," Sylla said.

"This is a market-driven process and investors will opt for those who have the most to offer," Sylla said.

The problems for African projects include the complicated administrative and technical demands of the CDM projects.

"They should adapt such investments to African countries. There are many technical and administrative difficulties to set up such mechanism," Serge Lepeltier, a former French environment minister, told the expert meeting.

"At the moment, AFrica has not been able the seize the opportunities the CDM offers," the leader of the European Union delegation at the expert's meeting, Gilles Hervio, admitted.

The CDM, which has been on place since 2005, allows countries which committed themselves to cutting greenhouse gases under the Kyoto protocol to fund carbon emission reduction programmes in developing countries.

Such projects could be, for example, a rural electrification project using solar panels or the installation of energy-efficient boilers. All the projects have to prove that the emission reductions are additional to what would otherwise have occurred and must qualify through a rigorous registration process.

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