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Kyoto Protocol Could Offer Investment Opportunities for Africa

Forestry and climate experts say an option under the Kyoto Protocol presents huge opportunities for Africa to effectively manage its natural resources and reduce poverty. Participants from across Africa, at workshop under way in Ghana, are discussing opportunities offered under the protocol, for the forest industry in Sub-Saharan tropical Africa.

The Clean Development Mechanism is one of three mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol that allow industrialized countries to meet their greenhouse gas reduction obligations by investing in emission reducing projects in developing countries.

Under the plan developing countries could implement projects as an alternative to more costly emission reductions in the industrialized countries.

Experts say Clean Development Mechanism projects could result in more than $30 billion flowing into the economies of developing countries by 2012.

Kwame Asumadu is one of the consultants participating in the workshop. He says Africa has several opportunities to implement CDM projects.

"Many African countries have good climate, good soils, good rainfall, and large scale commercial plantations would lead to increase carbon sequestration ... really I describe CDM activities involving forestry as the icing on the cake, because one, you grow a sellable product in the form of either saw-log or pop-wood, but on top of that because the plantations are sequestering carbon, then you create a sellable product also in the form of carbon credit," he said.

Asumadu says some African countries have started to implement CDM projects, but participation is low.

"Therefore the objective of this workshop is to ginger African countries to become aware of these opportunities and there by increase CDM activities, but now it is relatively low compared with, say Southeast Asia and South America," he said.

Addressing the participants, Ghana's deputy minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines, A. Adjei-Yeboah, said climate change increases the vulnerability of Africa's poor by adversely affecting their health and livelihoods, and undermining growth opportunities crucial for poverty reduction.

He urged participants to work to ensure that Africa becomes more involved in global CDM projects.

More than 50 participants from 30 countries are attending the five-day workshop, sponsored by the International Tropical Timber Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Ghana Forestry Commission.