Five West African countries ban ‘dirty fuels’ imports

Five West African costal nations, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Ivory Coast have introduced strict standards for fuel imports to cut vehicle emissions for cleaner air, Nigeria’s Environment Minister Amina J. Mohamed said on Monday.
The joint decision will result in major air quality benefits in cities and will allow the authorities to set modern vehicle standards, Mohamed said.
In her words, “for 20 years, Nigeria has not been able to address the vehicle pollution crisis due to the poor fuels we have been importing. Today we are taking a huge leap forward: limiting sulphur in fuels from 3,000 parts per million to 50 parts per million,” she said at The Hague.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the move by the West African countries will cut off Europe’s market in the region and ensure the importation of cleaner, low sulphur diesel fuels.
“West Africa is sending a strong message that it is no longer accepting dirty fuels from Europe. Their decision to set strict new standards for cleaner, safer fuels and advanced vehicle emissions standards shows they are placing the health of their people first,” head of UNEP, Erik Solheim said.
Note that the five countries also agreed to upgrade their own public and private refineries to meet the same higher standards by 2020.
As a reminder, a report earlier this year by the non-governmental organization Public Eye exposed how European trading companies are exploiting weak regulatory standards in West African countries, thus allowing fuels with sulphur levels that are up to 300 times higher than those permitted in Europe.

About Khalid Al Mouahidi 3863 Articles
Khalid Al Mouahidi : A binational from the US and Morocco, Khalid El Mouahidi has worked for several american companies in the Maghreb Region and is currently based in Casablanca, where he is doing consulting jobs for major international companies . Khalid writes analytical pieces about economic ties between the Maghreb and the Mena Region, where he has an extensive network