Woodfuels in Kenya and Rwanda: powering and driving the economy of the rural areas

The woodfuel sector in developing countries is an important source of energy both for firewood and charcoal and livelihoods for the rural poor in terms of job creation and income generation from sales of firewood of the same products. In Rwanda, woodfuel had a turnover of 122 million US dollars in 2007, which is about 5 percent of the country's GDP. In Kenya, 1.6 million tonnes of charcoal are consumed each year with a turnover of about 419 million US dollars. 

About 20 percent of the revenue generated by firewood and over 40 percent from charcoal is retained in the rural areas by the farmers and labourers in both countries, boosting the rural economies. This article is an extract from a study that was done in Kenya and Rwanda in 2010 and highlights the importance of the sector to the rural areas in the alleviation of both energy and financial poverty.

Geoffrey Ndegwa
Cologne University of Applied Sciences
Cologne, Germany

Dr Thomas Breuer

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Prof. Dr Johannes Hamhaber
Cologne University of Applied Sciences