Biofuels: Africa focus

IIED produced a series of reports addressing various potential threats and opportunities from biofuels expansion in Africa.


Biofuels have come to be regarded as an important option for reducing consumption of petroleum, a policy goal resulting from recent high oil prices, energy security concerns and climate change.

In Africa this interest is reflected in the rapid expansion of biofuel markets, increased private and public funding, and support for incorporating biofuels into government policies and development plans.

What did IIED do?

IIED produced a series of landmark reports showing how various potential threats and opportunities from biofuels expansion are playing out in reality.

  • In May 2010, a report explored the early impacts of the biofuels boom on access to land and on local livelihoods in Mozambique. It drew on fieldwork on biofuel projects representing different business models for agricultural production 
  • The previous year, a paper described existing patterns of biofuel development and crop cultivation in Tanzanian rural areas in order to improve the understanding of how these various potential threats and opportunities from biofuels expansion are playing out in reality, and
  • This 2009 briefing illuminated that African governments could show that commercial competition can go hand in hand with a range of real local benefits by encouraging business models that bridge large and small enterprise.

Additional resources

Climate Change in Africa, Camilla Toulmin (2009), Book

Fuelling exclusion? The biofuels boom and poor people's access to land, Lorenzo Cotula, Nat Dyer, Sonja Vermeulen (2008), IIED Report