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Butanization Programme in Senegal
by zanele z
Africa / US Energy Ministerial Conference & Women in Energy

Durban, South Africa •• Dec. 15, 2000 •• SolarQuest® iNet News Service •• The two major problems facing butanisation process in Senegal was brought into light in the presentation done by Senegal Dr Fatma Denton.

Senegal is a country prone to drought due to geographical location and continued deforestation caused by wood cutting and charcoal production , thus resulting in scarcity of traditional fuels.

Traditional energy fuels account for 53%,petroleum fuel 34%,electricity 12% and animal residue 1%.Total charcoal consumption in Senegal was estimated at 330 000 with 76% consumed in key urban areas.

Charcoal consumption in Dakar alone is estimated at 15 000 tons per year. Denton said government initiated a deliberate policy to launch the consumption of butane gas in Senegal with the ultimate aim to replace 50% of charcoal consumption with LPG in key urban areas.

"The first problem was that gas stoves were ill-suited for Senegalese households and their cooking habits. And prices of stoves were beyond the reach of most households," Denton explained.

Therefore there were measures taken to counter implementing difficulties she said stoves were designed to cater for the needs of Senegalese households.

And the cooker model was equipped with a 2.75 kg of gas bottle, but consumers had a definite preference for the popular adapted version of ("Nopole )

" Governement further set about removing taxes initially levied on imported equipment and introduction of a price structure taking into account different income groups.

"Government also persued a policy of rationalisation of wood resource, By raising wood cutting license fee and revising extraction quotas and land allocation system for charcoal production," she said..

The outcome from a timid start to a remarkable boom saw the new price structure encouraged local industries and among other things encouraged the consumption of LPGin Peri-urban areas due to low transport costs coupled with the existence of refilling ceters in these areas.

Denton also presented delegates with the results of the evaluation of LPG's future, where she said up untill now the government imposed heavy taxes on fuel oil in order to subsidize LPG sold in smaller bottles.

And due to SAP in 1985 -86, government embarked on a gradual removal of oil subsidies. Denton in her conclusion stated that the two main factors that will lead to the successful expansion of LPG .

"The first factor is political will of the government, another one is resources mobilized to facilitate the transition both at supply and demand level," she said.

She added that though these 2 factors are imporatant ingredients in future energy policies however with an increase in oil prices on the worl market would mean tough energy choices at home.

"These leaves two questions whether the Senegalese government would be able to rise up to the challenge both extenal and internal.

"And to what extent these challenges take into account women's energy need,"Danton concluded.

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