EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Representative meat consumption pathways for sub-Saharan Africa and their local and global energy and environmental implications

Giacomo Falchetta1,2, Nicolò Golinucci1,3, and Michel Noussan1
Giacomo Falchetta et al.
  • 1Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Milan, Italy (
  • 2Department of International Economics, Institutions and Development, Catholic University, Milan, Italy
  • 3Department of Energy, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy

In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) most people live on plant-dominated diets, with significantly lower levels of per-capita meat consumption than in any other region. Yet, economic development has nearly everywhere spurred a shift to dietary regimes with a greater consumption of meat, albeit with regional heterogeneity for meat-type and magnitude. A growing regional economy, changing cultural attitudes, and a steeply increasing population could thus push the regional demand upward in the coming decades, with significant depletion of regional and global natural resources and environmental repercussions. We study the historical association of the four main meat types with demand drivers in recently developed countries via seemingly unrelated regression (SUR) equation systems. Using the calibrated coefficients, trajectories of meat consumption in SSA to 2050 are projected relying on the SSP scenarios over GDP and population growth. Then, using a Leontiefian environmentally extended input-output (EEIO) framework exploiting the EXIOBASE3 database, we estimate the related energy, land, and water requirements, and the implied greenhouse gas (CO2, CH4, N2O) emissions. We calculate that if production to meet those consumption levels takes place in the continent – compared to the current situation – global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would grow by 230 Mt CO2e (4.4% of today’s global agriculture-related emissions), the land required for cropping and grazing would require additional 4.2 · 106 km2 (more than half of the total arable land in SSA), total blue water consumption would rise by 10,300 Mm3 (0.89% of the global total), and additional 1.2 EJ of energy (6% of today’s total primary energy demand in the region) would be required. Alternative scenarios where SSA is a net importer of final meat products are reported for comparison. The local policy and attitudes towards farming practices and dietary choices will have significant impact on both the regional environment and global GHG emissions.

How to cite: Falchetta, G., Golinucci, N., and Noussan, M.: Representative meat consumption pathways for sub-Saharan Africa and their local and global energy and environmental implications, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-6934,, 2020

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