/ 9 November 2007

Tea, sugar to help boost Africa’s energy

Mozambique is among Southern and East African countries that will benefit from new, $100-million energy projects.

The United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) said in a press release issued on Thursday that the projects will use tea and sugar residues to generate energy. This is part of the UN’s programme to boost the use of clean energy and stimulate development in Africa.

Unep said: ”Both projects aim to develop new forms of local energy generation to help rural areas overcome poverty, cut dependency on imported and expensive fossil fuels, and contribute to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.”

The tea initiative, which will deliver small-scale hydro-electric power to plantations across East Africa, is expected to reach more than eight million people in the tea industry.

Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia are among the countries that have already endorsed the initiative.

”Tea is known to be good for you; now it is also getting better for the environment,” said Unep executive director Achim Steiner.

He said the project has opened up a raft of new opportunities for cleaner and renewable energy generation.

The sugar project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), under which waste from sugar will be used to generate electricity, will help farmers use waste from the sugar industry to generate electricity.

More than 10-million sugar farmers and their dependants in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda and Tanzania are expected to benefit from the project.

According to Unep, a successful sugar project was implemented in Mauritius, where up to 40% of the country’s electricity needs were met by waste by-products from the sugar industry. — Sapa