Cotton Expor Benin Tries Local Processing to Reduce Climate Emissions
Author: Henry Wilkins
As world leaders meet in Egypt to discuss ways to combat climate change, one possible solution is brewing across the continent in Benin. Benin has built an industrial park to move the country away from exporting raw materials to making finished products. If implemented on a larger scale, activists say, the trend would cut down on emissions from shipping that contribute to global warming. “The raw cashew is processed here and instead of going to Vietnam and then back to the European market and the American market to be sold to the consumers,” Beheton said. “That alone is allowing us to reduce the carbon footprint. Then, you take cotton. Same thing.” The World Bank said international shipping accounts for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions that are fueling climate change. Activists agree that cutting shipments of African raw materials for overseas processing would help reduce the damage. “We tend to produce raw material in one country, transport it to another to process and then ship them to a third country to sell the final product,” Abbasov said. “If we can get to an economy where raw materials are processed closer to the extraction point, we can cut down quite a lot of unnecessary emissions.”While the overall impact of reduced shipping is a fraction of global emissions, suppors say African manufacturing still has a role to play in the fight against climate change.