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A bottom-up approach is needed to improve Africa's share of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects, says environmental manager Durando Ndongsok.

The CDM allows countries signed up to emissions cuts under the Kyoto Protocol to invest in emission-reduction projects in developing countries instead of more expensive alternatives at home.

It has led to quantifiable results in China and India but Africa holds a measly two per cent share of CDM projects, says Ndongsok.

He adds that CDM pipeline analyses reveal that this proportion is unlikely to reach more than three per cent before 2012.

The problem, says Ndongsok, is that efforts to develop CDM projects on the continent have taken a pan-African approach focused on institutional support. But Africa is made up of more than 50 countries with different cultures, economies, politics, natural resources and stages of development.

Strengthening institutional frameworks may be appropriate in Chad or Mauritania but may not be a priority for Nigeria, where CDM is well understood and the problem is a lack of venture capital to jump-start projects.

Understanding the barriers to implementing CDM projects in Africa requires a bottom-up approach based on local people establishing pilot projects in six strategic countries within key regions, says Ndongsok.

The process of developing these would allow local managers to identify and analyse regionally-relevant barriers — from language to energy mix — and make recommendations for future projects.

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