The African Biodigester Component (ABC) supports the growth and sustainability of the commercial biogas sector in Sub-Saharan Africa. The programme focuses on Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Niger and Uganda.
What is ABC?
ABC is a 5-year programme, ending on 31 December 2025. The programme aims to create sustainable biodigester markets in 5 countries. In Burkina Faso, Kenya and Uganda the programme builds on the results of the Africa Biogas Partnership Programme. We expect this to result in mature markets that will continue to scale and provide energy access without public support. In Mali and Niger, ABC will help develop basic market foundations.
ABC intervention areas
The ABC programme aims to develop the demand and supply side and the enabling environment in the 5 target countries: Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Niger and Uganda.
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- Awareness creation with a strong focus on the biodigester business case
- Bio-slurry extension and compost market development
- Providing result-based incentives
- Providing business development services through the Energy Enterprise Coach
- Facilitating market entry and local production of prefabricated biodigesters
- Supporting biodigester business networks
- Increasing access to finance for companies and end users
- Support to the West and Central African Alliance for biodigesters
- Evidence-based advocacy and support to develop the enabling environment for biodigesters
The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) oversees the programme's implementation on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).
RVO has selected implementers through a transparent and competitive selection process. Their task is to carry out in-country implementation. The figure below gives an overview of the selected implementers.
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- Management: Netherlands Enterprise Agency
- RBF Verification
- Independent Verification Agent: KPMG
- Lead Implementers
- Lead Implementer Kenya: GIZ/SNV/ABPL
- Lead Uganda: SNV/GIZ/BSUL
- Lead Implementer Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger): SNV/PNB-BF/DPED/ANADEB
- Thematic Support Implementers
- Energy Enterprise Coach: NIRAS/Intellecap
- Organic Fertiliser Valorisation: BR/DIBCoop/SNV
- Access to Finance: Charm Impact
- Gender Mainstreaming: ENERGIA
- WCA Alliance Support Implementer: HIVOS/SNV
By the end of 2025, ABC aims to facilitate the construction and installation of:
- 50,000 small-scale biodigesters, and
- 250 medium-scale bio-digesters.
This will result in energy access for at least 250,000 people and a yearly greenhouse gas emission reduction of 180,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
ABC in practice
The inception phase for each country started in January 2022. Inception activities include:
- Assessing the energy access market development baseline for demand, supply and the enabling environment;
- Assessing the functionality of existing biodigesters;
- Assessing biodigester business cases;
- Researching existing biogas enterprises and potential entrants;
- Researching related support programmes;
- Designing results-based financing support;
- Signing cooperation agreements with biogas enterprises;
- Organising project launch meetings.
All countries have recently started implementing activities. We will regularly update you on the progress of these activities on this website. Read how we are supporting the West and Central Africa Alliance (WCA) or more about ABC in Uganda.
Biodigester technology and its benefits
A biodigester uses organic material such as animal manure, agricultural residues or human faeces combined with water to create bio-slurry and biogas, a mixture of methane and CO2. Using a biodigester can result in a CO2 emission reduction of 3.5 to 8 tonnes of CO2 per digester per year.
Biodigesters also have other benefits. They can improve livelihoods and increase resilience, as farmers and families can use the clean fuel the biodigester produces for cooking. Replacing traditional fuels with biogas reduces indoor air pollution and related health problems. It also positively affects women and children as it saves time, which can be used for income-generating activities and education. Using clean fuel instead of firewood reduces forest degradation and black carbon emissions. Another benefit of biogas is that it decreases fuel expenses. Besides this, processing manure and human faeces in a biodigester significantly improves household sanitation.
Another end product is bio-slurry, an effective organic crop fertiliser used in bio-slurry-enriched compost. Bio-compost is a valuable commodity, especially in the Sahel region. Bio-slurry production has become the main driver of biogas sector development in countries like Burkina Faso and Uganda. Bio-slurry-enriched compost helps increase soil fertility and water retention capacity. Farmers and families save on buying fertiliser and pesticides by using bio-slurry. It also increases agricultural yields, contributing to smallholder income and improved family nutrition.
Biodigester technology contributes to 7 of the Sustainable Development Goals:
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- reduce women's workload and save time
- reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- reduce indoor air pollution, save cooking time and time for cleaning cooking utensils
- increase crop yields; reduce chemical fertiliser and pesticide expenditures
- reduce forest degradation
- improve sanitation
- create jobs in rural areas
- reduce energy expenses, and
- improve soil fertility.
The Netherlands Enterprise Agency carries out ABC on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ABC activities will be carried out in partnership with the Energising Development (EnDev) programme. ABC is part of Strengthening the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem for Clean Cooking Programme.
If you have any questions about ABC or see opportunities for collaboration, please email us.