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Emerging results from the Africa LEDS Project


The Africa LEDS Project is helping African governments to plan and track the results of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – their national commitments under the Paris climate agreement.

As one of the most climate vulnerable regions in the world, with high rates of economic growth in most countries, Africa faces a significant challenge in both adapting to climate extremes and moving to low carbon, prosperous economies. The Africa LEDS project supports countries to analyze the socioeconomic and climate impacts of cross-sectoral NDC actions, so that countries can better address their development challenges in the context of climate resilient development. The project seeks to first build capacity for modelling and analyzing LEDS, then implement key pilot projects that can be scaled up across the region. Its ultimate goal is to support broader low emission development policy and strategic action.

Funded by the European Commission, the Africa LEDS Project is implemented by UNEP, the Africa LEDS Partnership and the LEDS GP.

Planning and implementation support

The Africa LEDS Project team is supporting the governments of Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in implementing key clean energy access and smart agriculture projects. These projects will demonstrate how to create low carbon jobs and encourage social and economic opportunities, while meeting climate objectives. These ‘on-the-ground’ actions will then be used to inform plans and policies in other African countries.

LEDS modelling support

Modelling and related analytic activities are underway with Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, and Zambia. These modelling teams, based in the focal countries and supported by an international technical team, are assessing the emissions reduction potential and the socioeconomic impacts of key actions included in countries’ NDCs. They are doing this by adapting existing modelling tools and developing new analytical frameworks to fit national circumstances.

Progress so far

In Cameroon, the team carried out four studies to assess the feasibility of scaling-up renewable energy capacity to foster the growth of green agro-value chains. Specifically, the studies are focused on using off-grid micro-hydro plants and solar photovoltaic installations to power cassava and potato processing activities – activities which generate vital income in rural economies. The project intends to find markets for these cassava and potato products via a mobile phone application. The mobile app, called Afroshop, will link sellers with buyers, and the phones will also be powered by renewable energy. The app has been tested with a view to improving and expanding its use across the 10 agro-ecological zones of Cameroon – and hence it has the potential to support many other low carbon opportunities to generate rural income.

In line with its NDC priorities in renewable energy, waste management and smart agriculture, Cote d’Ivoire is leading in demonstrating an effective waste-to-energy and bio-fertilizer program. The waste-to-energy component is expected to reduce deforestation and land-based emissions by supplying an alternative source of fuel, while the bio-fertilizer project will accelerate job creation and enhance food security by increasing crop yields.

The two projects are integrally linked – and so could demonstrate the potential for synergy in applying clean technologies across multiple sectors. A bio-digester company, Societé de forage construction-énergie renouvelables et équipements (SOFCEREQ), and the Africa Business Group, which makes fuel briquettes from rice husks, are developing a practical method of transforming agricultural rice waste into energy. Two sites have been selected for these waste-to-energy demonstration projects. The produce of these sites will be used to manufacture bio-fertilizer, which will be sold on to local farmers. Cote D’Ivoire is also developing a broader analytical framework to assess the climate and development impacts of key low carbon projects linked to its NDC.

In DRC, planning and implementation support has focused on linking waste-to-energy and bio-fertilizer activities to national REDD+ processes. DRC holds Africa’s largest and the world’s second largest rainforest; storing 25-30 billion tons of carbon. Not only does 94% of DRC’s population use biomass as a primary source of fuel, but DRC’s rainforest creates income opportunities through an annual charcoal harvest of up to 490,000 tons. The rainforest is under threat, which means that having a solid REDD+ process is more important than ever. Through the Africa LEDS Project, DRC is planning an alternative development trajectory: based on more environmentally-sustainable domestic fuel and livelihood opportunities, and using briquettes and organic fertilizer to prevent forest degradation.

In Mozambique, the country modelling team is working on a novel approach to link the Long Range Energy Alternatives Planning (LEAP) and REDD Abacus SP (this estimates emissions from land use and land cover changes and provides opportunity cost analyses) models for accelerating NDC action in the energy and agriculture sectors. This work is being led by the Government of Mozambique and the Eduardo Mondlane University.

In Zambia, the country modelling team will be linking the LEAP and International Jobs and Economic Development Impacts (IJEDI) model to assess the economic impacts of forest regeneration and afforestation, off-grid renewable energy for non-electrified areas, and climate-smart and conservation agriculture.

In Kenya, the country modelling team has analysed the climate and development impacts of geothermal energy, improved cookstoves, restoring forests on degraded lands, and agroforestry. The team held an initial remote training on LEAP and other models, which will be followed by remote training to support this work throughout the year.

In Ghana, the Africa LEDS project is supporting modelling efforts in clean energy and agriculture. In Morocco, as first step, the project team is developing a shortlist of sectoral modelling priorities in energy, housing infrastructure, transport, industry, and agriculture and waste.

The Africa LEDS project recently launched an AFOLU community of practice (CoP) in collaboration with the Africa LEDS Partnership and LEDS GP AFOLU Working Group. The CoP provides a platform for ongoing collaboration to allow for deeper learning and sustained participation, continuous access to tools and expert assistance, and to foster champions that will serve as role models for other countries in the regions. The AFOLU CoP is demand driven to meet members’ needs and offers support and solutions to early movers as needs emerge. If you would like more information on the CoP, please contact: Sadie.cox@nrel.gov or info@africaleds.org.

Find out more about the Africa LEDS Project: http://www.africaleds.org/

Photo: Rwanda Green Fund / Flickr

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