In rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa, solid bioenergy such as fuelwood, charcoal, dung and waste is the main source of energy for cooking and heating for up to 90 % of the population, or around 3 billion people (World Health Organisation [WHO], 2018). This has substantial implications for poverty alleviation as well as for environmental protection, including forests, ecosystems and biological diversity within the region.
Various innovative technologies and tools to produce and distribute renewable bioenergy, which promote the sustainable use of locally available resources without disrupting food and water supply, are affordable and efficient have been emerging within the region. Information focused on three themes – sustainable rural biomass supply, biomass-to-energy innovations and tools for enhanced bioenergy sustainability – was collected by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) through a “Call for Good Practice” from May to August 2017. This publication gathers together these good practices and others to form a sound knowledge base. It highlights concepts and practices useful for policy makers and development practitioners, including private-sector actors, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), researchers, extension officers and facilitators on the ground in sub-Saharan Africa. It covers three issues: sustainable rural biomass supply, biomass-to-energy innovations, and tools to enhance bioenergy sustainability.