Experts say sub-Saharan Africa is one of the regions most affected by global warming.

Development divide

The World Bank estimates that the developing world will suffer about 80 per cent of the damage of climate change, even though it accounts for only around one third of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

But Western representatives at the Burkina Faso forum warned that African demands for "compensation" would be hard to meet.

Sawadogo's comments, made at the three-day World Forum on Sustainable Development hosted by Burkina Faso, come two months before a critical UN summit on climate change.

The Burkina Faso conference also came as UN climate talks in the Thai capital, Bangkok, drew to a close, with the rift between the rich and the poor countries still unresolved.

'Reciprocal exchange'

A crucial point of contention remains how much money wealthy nations are willing to pledge to help developing ones deal with climate change.

Youssouf Ouedraogo, a former prime minister of Burkina Faso, said that countries meeting at Copenhagen would need to find "a reciprocal exchange".

"Africa should not be made to feel that while it is the least polluting continent its views and demands are not heard. That would be dangerous," he said.

Some scientists say climate change is already wreaking havoc on the continent, with West Africa suffering from floods and east Africa facing a historic drought.