Thinking Outside the Box: A Case for Promoting the Charcoal Industry in Tanzania

"Charcoal is Tanzania’s most important domestic energy source and this is not likely to change in the foreseeable future. Demand for charcoal is rising as Tanzania’s population grows and becomes increasingly urban. Yet, despite its importance and potential, charcoal is not positively perceived within the national policy environment, leading to unsustainable and inefficient charcoal production, deforestation and soil degradation, lost opportunities to modernise the charcoal value chain and lost revenue for the government. This brief argues that charcoal is pro-poor, can be pro-development and a potential driver of economic growth. Instead of being ashamed of the country’s association with charcoal, Tanzania can empower its citizens to develop and modernise the sector so that charcoal becomes a valuable, renewable, sustainable energy source."