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Methodology Note
Regional Conference on the Assessment of the Phase-out of Leaded Gasoline in Sub Saharan Africa
May 5-7, 2004. Venue: Nairobi, Kenya


The Conference on the Assessment of the Progress Towards the Phase-out of Leaded Gasoline in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), jointly organized by the World Bank Clean Air Initiative in Sub-Saharan African Cities and by the UNEP-Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV), was held at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya on May 5 thru 7, 2004. The technical meeting took place during the first two days and a ministerial consultation was held on the third day.

Representatives of 34 Sub-Saharan countries, UNEP, The World Bank, the oil industry, IPIECA, and non-governmental organizations attended the technical meeting. The technical meeting examined the progress made in the effort to eliminate leaded gasoline and provided important recommendations for addressing the pending issues.

A preliminary study "Progress Towards Phasing-Out Leaded Gasoline by Sub-region of Sub-Saharan Africa, April 2004" was prepared for the World Bank Clean Air Initiative. This progress assessment indicates that more than half of the gasoline sold in SSA is already unleaded. Nine countries (Cape Verde, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mauritania, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda and Sudan) only allow the commercialisation of unleaded gasoline, rendering the complete phase-out of lead in gasoline highly probable by the end of 2005 in each of them.

Ministers and experts of each country in SSA are committed to the elimination of lead in gasoline by the end of 2005, and will now return to their respective countries to begin implementing the recommendations of the Conference.

The following recommendations were made:

  1. Countries that have not set timelines for elimination of lead in gasoline before December 2005 should do so as soon as possible;

  2. Governments from oil importing countries should decide to ban immediately the importation of leaded gasoline;

  3. Governments were informed of the conclusions of a UNEP-WSSD sponsored study that confirmed that the recession of valve seats, perceived as a potential problem affecting old vehicles, was not an issue to be considered in SSA countries;

  4. SSA countries with distribution and marketing systems allowing only one grade of gasoline should lower the gasoline octane to 90–91 RON;

  5. Harmonization of standards should be done at the sub-regional level. The petroleum industry was encouraged to make proposals in regard to the future quality of fuels in the different SSA sub-regions;

  6. Landlocked countries dependent on other countries for petroleum products need support for coordinating efforts to phase-out leaded gasoline;

  7. Awareness-creation and stakeholder participation are crucial to the phase-out process;

  8. UNEP intends to complete a study on potential measures for reducing the sulphur content of diesel in SSA;

  9. Governments agree to introduce emission standards for new and second-hand imported vehicles and to render obligatory their use of catalytic converters, as well as to limit the age of the vehicles entering the car fleets;

  10. Governments agree to make efforts to introduce and enforce emission standards for existing vehicles in order to eliminate from the roads the poorly maintained vehicles and the gross polluters;

  11. Given that there is a need to monitor air quality in cities, ministries of environment should set up air quality monitoring facilities; and

  12. The commitment of UNEP, the World Bank and all private and public partners to provide support to SSA countries will be greatly appreciated.

More detailed information on the conference’s documents (agenda, presentations, sub-regional action plans and other outcomes) is available on the UNEP-PCFV website:

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Calendar - 2004
Related Topic
Gasoline - Lead phase - out