Understanding the landscape and trends of emissions is essential if we are to reach ‘net zero’. This column examines patterns of CO2 equivalent emissions worldwide, with a focus on 49 African countries and taking a comparative perspective. Africa’s CO2e footprint, while following the worldwide downward trend, is still the highest in the world. At the same time, the continent’s share of global CO2e emissions is the lowest and it is the only region that did not raise its per capita footprint over 1995-2015. The share of emissions in Africa originating from Asia has tripled to 11%, while Asia’s and Europe’s shares of imported emissions from Africa have remained constant. Africa’s export basket is skewed towards high CO2e intensity products.