Tax Regulation on Carbon Dioxide Emissions in Africa

Air pollution, caused by unchecked carbon dioxide emissions, is a potent challenge in major African cities. Lagos, the economic capital of Nigeria, is considered a hub of environmental pollution. A routine of activities, including industrial operations, automobile usage, and domestic cooking, collide to poison the atmosphere in Lagos. This narrative, however, isn’t peculiar to Nigeria.

Despite the clamour for minimised emissions and the multiple attempts by government and non-government initiatives to encourage tree planting schemes, many African nations do not have a coherent carbon tax system. Below, we examine the structures for reducing carbon emissions in a few countries.

Structures for Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emission

In 2013, South Africa passed a Carbon Tax policy into law to address its emission challenges. As of then, the country was one of the top twenty carbon-emitting nations in the world. The tax policy, designed to compensate for the unchecked taxes levied on automobile users, costs 120 rands per tonne of CO2 emitted.

The tax policy is considered a viable alternative for low-income households. It ensures that citizens who are incapable of opting for renewable energy can rely on carbon-derived fuel for small-scale and industrial processes. Revenues generated from the taxes would be diverted to fund infrastructural developments in different cities.

By 2018, carbon taxes in South Africa had been reduced; a 2021 report shows that these taxes went down by EUR 2.32 from the 2018 levy. The bulk of carbon taxes is generated by the transportation industry, as they account for up to one-tenth of South Africa’s cumulative fuel-based emissions.

Though Nigeria has an existing carbon tax policy, the binding regulations have been mostly ignored. Stamped in 2019, the policy covers fuel emissions due to combustion, emissions due to extraction, processing, and distribution of fossil fuels, and emissions originating from industrial processes that use fuel as a feedstock.

Taxing industries and individuals in Nigeria for atmospheric pollution is a sane move. Not only does it ensure compliance with emission limits, but carbon taxes also ensure the revival of the dormant renewable energy industry. Effective policies will trigger a nationwide awareness of the importance of clean, healthy air, reduce the nation’s carbon footprint, and guarantee its integration into the Green Energy movement.

Ghana’s recent collaboration with the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility means that they are well-positioned as a leading country striving for clean air. The Carbon Fund scheme will promote positive climate actions and reduce deforestation and degradation rates in the country.

The Carbon Fund agreement targets a reduction of 10 million tonnes of CO2, equivalent to $50 million USD. The agreement serves two purposes:

  • Reduce carbon emissions due to deforestation.
  • Promote the production of sustainable cocoa planting through climate-smart seeds.

The reduction programme covers 1.2 million hectares of planted area. Through the Emissions Reduction Payment Agreement, Ghana is reducing the cultivation of cocoa across these lands, securing the future of Ghana’s forests. Through partnership programs on forest rehabilitation and sustainable land management, the government’s goal to cut carbon emissions is primed for success.

Egypt imposes indirect energy taxes on the use of fuel products such as gasoline, coal, and diesel, and on the consumption of electricity at the individual, industrial, and public levels.

It is projected that Egypt can achieve 53% of power generation from renewable energy by 2030. The proposal, put into effect before 2016, is revised every two years to factor in changes in the cost of implementing a nationwide renewable energy system.


Though African countries are vying to reduce carbon emissions and establish themselves as pro-green energy, carbon taxes are not fully effective for the desired results. Tree planting, a cost-effective scheme, will tackle rapid carbon emissions and yield a clean atmosphere over a long period.

Interested in taking up a tree planting project for your street, community, or country? Connect with us at Rooted. We believe that every new tree contributes to safe air and a healthy atmosphere. Together we can make a difference in our climate.


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