The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime has announced the launch of a report saying that failure to enforce existing regulations and to design better enforcement regimes for this important industry in East Africa represents a threat to sustainable development. Regulatory blind spots lead to environmental degradation, as trees are unsustainably harvested, and public health costs, linked to indoor pollution. The organisation argues, drawing on new empirical data from Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan, that this grey market creates specific corruption, criminality and cartelisation risks. The report informs one that charcoal is one of the most important commodities in sub-Saharan Africa, with as much as 80% of the urban population in the East Africa region using charcoal as their primary energy needs for cooking. It is cheap, efficient and easily transportable. It also provides income and livelihoods for millions of people. In Kenya, for example, the charcoal industry employed approximately 700 000 people in 2018, who in turn supported between 2.3 million and 2.5 million dependents.
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