Kolkata: Africa, which is on a "slow, uphill battle" to improve its bio-energy sector, needs India's expertise in improved cooking stove (ICS) and durable solar products technology, a member of a leading think tank said here Wednesday.
"India and Africa have a common background. There is a lot of technology coming from Europe but the tradition and culture of Europe is quite different from Africa," Benard Mouk, director of programme at the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) in Kenya, told IANS on the sidelines of a programme here.
"But the problem in Africa is quite similar to India. So the solution in India is also applicable to Africa," he said.
ACTS is a pioneering inter-governmental development research think tank on harnessing applications of science, technology and innovation policies for sustainable development in Africa.
Mouk attended the Round Table on "Bioenergy Issues and Options" here, organised by the Bengal Chamber and World Bioenergy Association.
"We would like to share a lot of technologies. One of the major areas in bioenergy where we would like to collaborate is ICS.
"We are also thinking of solar products because Indian solar products are quite good. They are stronger, durable. It is easier to copy the technology from India than the West because of similar culture," he said.
Bioenergy contributes up to 80 percent of energy requirements of most rural communities in Africa, he said.
"But less than 10 percent of population in most African countries are connected to the grid. The dependence on biomass is unlikely to change," he said.
Countries like Ghana, Senegal and Kenya are doing well in bioenergy, Mouk said.
ICS are an important component of clean energy derived from biomass, such as firewood. It uses one third of the amount of firewood as a traditional fire, reducing household smoke levels.
It is estimated that air pollution caused by inefficient stoves lead to 4.3 million premature deaths each year, more than those from malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
"Currently, we are witnessing a slow, uphill battle guided by science and proper policy framework to boost our bioenergy sector.
"There is a significant amount of under-utilised renewable energy source in Africa but we have been slow in mobilising this potential," he said, adding that challenges remain in land acquisition and land-use conflicts.