The implementation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of projects has now become a legal requirement in every country in Africa. Development projects initiated by governments and investment projects initiated by the private sector have to undergo a comprehensive EIA if they are deemed to be potentially damaging to the environment.
Environmental Impact Assessments guide project proponents on the selection of appropriate mitigation measures that can be integrated in project design in order to improve the environment.
Currently, many EIA studies are not done properly due to lack of the required skills in Africa. As a consequence, decision makers often have no clear idea as to what type of information is needed to make rational and timely decisions when appraising projects. Furthermore, too much emphasis is often given to data collection, and not enough on their analysis, interpretation, and their overall environmental implications. Another major problem stems from the fact that monitoring and evaluation of the actual environmental impacts of projects are mostly inconspicuous. The absence of proper monitoring and evaluation is now a major handicap for rational environmental management.