Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe are the latest countries in Africa to adopt low sulphur fuel standards – petrol and diesel with a maximum of 50 parts per million. All imported fuel from 1 November 2017 is required to conform to these new standards. The countries now join Ghana that also switched to low sulphur fuels in August. By implementing low sulphur standards in August, Ghana became the first country within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region to make this crucial shift to cleaner fuels.
This brings to 11 the number of countries in Africa that have moved to cleaner fuels. These countries are Morocco, Mauritius, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ghana, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Morocco is actually the first country in Africa to achieve ultra-low sulphur fuels – 10 parts per million fuels - with Mauritius and East African countries considering the switch to ultra-low sulphur fuels as well.
The UN Environment has been partnering with these countries to promote the introduction of cleaner fuels and vehicles as a way to reduce local air pollution and short-lived climate pollutants. Through initiatives like the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the UN Environment has supported the sensitization of policy makers and the public on the benefits of low sulphur fuels. The next steps for these countries to fully benefit from the cleaner fuels will be to require import of cleaner vehicles or vehicle with emission control technologies, and introduce vehicle emission testing and maintenance schemes for in-use vehicles. The UN Environment intends to continue to partner with the countries through this process, and is already discussing with the countries on this next stage.