Incoming CBAM could see African aluminium, iron exports plummet

26th May 2023

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online


Font size: - +

The African Climate Foundation (ACF), together with the Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa, says that the European Union’s (EU’s) incoming Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) will impact negatively on African economies, particularly in the form of export competitiveness and administrative hurdles for market access.

The CBAM, which will be introduced on October 1, will particularly hamper African countries that have historically struggled to access the European market.

In a new report published by the ACF and Firoz, the organisations set out the implications of the CBAM for Africa regarding relevant obligations under international legal frameworks as well as strategic considerations for African countries, to ensure that the CBAM is implemented in such a way that it is not more trade restrictive than necessary nor discriminatory.

The CBAM will first go through a three-year transition period whereby only emissions reporting obligations will apply, without any financial payments or adjustments.

Following the transition period, the CBAM will be gradually phased in from 2026 to 2034, initially covering imports of iron and steel, cement, aluminium, fertiliser, hydrogen and electricity.

“The CBAM aims to position the EU as a global leader on climate action and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to 55% below 1 990 levels by 2030.

However, the proposal has faced scrutiny from partners like Africa, who question its compliance with Paris commitments and its impact on African exports,” says ACF chairperson Carlos Lopes.

Africa is home to 33 of the world’s 46 least-developed countries (LDCs), identified as highly economically vulnerable and confronting severe structural impediments to sustainable development.

The report avers that several African LDCs would be among those most impacted by the application of the CBAM. In a hypothetical scenario in which the CBAM is applied to all imported products, 11 African LDCs are forecast to experience a moderate to large negative impact on their gross domestic product of more than 1.5% and up to 8.4%.

Moreover, in a hypothetical model where the CBAM is applied to all imports, the report forecasts the CBAM could reduce total exports from African countries to EU countries by 5.72% and reduce Africa’s GDP by 1.12%.

Given that the EU is a particularly significant import-export market for African countries, the CBAM could cause a fall in exports from Africa to the EU of aluminium by up to 13.9%, iron and steel by 8.2%, fertiliser by 3.9% and cement by 3.1%.

If the scope of the CBAM is expanded over time, the impact could be more substantial.

When the CBAM was being developed, an exemption for LDCs and vulnerable economies was considered, but ultimately decided against by the EU.

Instead, the European Parliament called for the EU to provide financial support, at least equivalent in financial value to the revenues generated by the sale of CBAM certificates, to support LDCs’ efforts towards the decarbonisation of their manufacturing industries.

However, the EU has committed CBAM revenues to its Innovation Fund, which seeks to support innovative techniques, processes and technologies, including the scaling up of such techniques, processes and technologies, with a view to their broad roll-out across the EU.

The ACF states that this contradicts an earlier EU proposal to finance LDC efforts towards the decarbonisation of their manufacturing industries at the level of revenues generated by the sale of CBAM certificates.

More recently, a EU statement to the seventy-third United Nations Conference on Trade and Development noted that the EU support could include technical and financial assistance to support climate mitigation and adaptation in LDCs.

Concrete commitments to LDCs affected by the CBAM are yet to be made, the ACF points out.

“Considering the issues raised by the joint report, it is essential that key stakeholders engage in a constructive dialogue on the CBAM. The EU must acknowledge the concerns of its partners and work towards mitigating the negative impacts on African economies.

“Simultaneously, African countries should also take the lead in formulating measures to protect their interests and ensure their economic development is not hampered by the CBAM,” the organisation adds.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



Sandvik automation image
Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions products and services provide you maximum value in terms of performance, quality, safety, flexibility and not...

SBS Tanks
SBS Tanks

SBS® Tanks is a leading provider of innovative water security solutions with offices in Southern Africa, East and West Africa, the USA and an...


Latest Multimedia

sponsored by

Magazine round up | 29 September 2023
Magazine round up | 29 September 2023
29th September 2023

Option 1 (equivalent of R125 a month):

Receive a weekly copy of Creamer Media's Engineering News & Mining Weekly magazine
(print copy for those in South Africa and e-magazine for those outside of South Africa)
Receive daily email newsletters
Access to full search results
Access archive of magazine back copies
Access to Projects in Progress
Access to ONE Research Report of your choice in PDF format

Option 2 (equivalent of R375 a month):

All benefits from Option 1
Access to Creamer Media's Research Channel Africa for ALL Research Reports, in PDF format, on various industrial and mining sectors including Electricity; Water; Energy Transition; Hydrogen; Roads, Rail and Ports; Coal; Gold; Platinum; Battery Metals; etc.

Already a subscriber?

Forgotten your password?







sq:0.068 0.101s - 88pq - 2rq
Subscribe Now