One of the wealthiest countries in sub‐Saharan Africa when it became independent in 1964, Zambia is today an LDC, with 45% of its GDP coming from foreign aid and financial support. Its Human Development Index has seen a catastrophic decline since 1985, and around 70% of the population lives below the poverty line1. The significant decline in productivity of its agricultural sector has been attributed to reduced performance of the workforce due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Zambia is a landlocked country with no oil resources. The absence of harbours results in higher costs for imported fossil fuels. Liquid (petroleum) fuels account for 12% of national energy demand2. All of this is imported, in large part via the 1700km pipeline from Dar‐es‐Salaam port in Tanzania to the INDENI refinery in Ndola. The transport sector accounts for 53% of the national consumption of petroleum products, followed by the mining sector at 27%.
Traditional wood fuels such as charcoal and firewood still dominate energy consumption by far, accounting for about 70% of national demand2. The present consumption of wood fuel exceeds the potential sustainable supply, posing a serious threat to the country’s forests. Currently around 66% of Zambian land cover consists of forest.