Biomass is among the common resources in developing countries that could alleviate fuel, energy, and environmental problems. This is due to the abundance of biomass as feedstock for energy production in this region. Though, there are some challenges and limitations to their practical use. This includes low energy densities, high volatile content, low calorific value, etc. Herein, some research works on generation of sustainable energy from agro-residues through thermal pretreatment (TP) for developing nations are reviewed. The review is carried out using articles available on the ScienceDirect database. TP is normally carried out between the temperature range of 200 and 1300 °C – torrefaction (200–300 °C), carbonization (450–550 °C), pyrolysis (350–700 °C), and gasification (800–1300 °C). The heating rate significantly influences the TP output. The Char yield and calorific value increase with torrefaction temperature (TT), whereas the volatile yield decreases. TT does not have a significant effect on char composition. The effect of temperature on char production is more significant compared with residence time (RT). Some developmental possibilities exist in biomass utilization, especially for developing countries via TP: generation of employment, provision of a cleaner environment, economic diversification, and reduction of the poverty level, among other potential opportunities.