Biofuels: Africa focus

Article, 05 May 2010

Africa focusBiofuels 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.

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

 

Biofuels, land access and rural livelihoods in Mozambique

Isilda Nhantumbo, Alda Salomão
May 2010 Book/Report

Biofuels, land access and rural livelihoods in Mozambique

In Mozambique, private investors have expressed growing interest in biofuel production. While this trend may create new livelihood opportunities, it may also undermine access to land and natural resources for rural people.

This report explores the early impacts of the biofuels boom on access to land and on local livelihoods in Mozambique. It draws on fieldwork on biofuel projects representing different business models for agricultural production.


Biofuels, land access and rural livelihoods in Tanzania

Emmanuel Sulle, Fred Nelson
December 2009, Book/Report

Biofuels, land access and rural livelihoods in Tanzania

Private and public sources of financial support for biofuels development have increased greatly. For African countries, this is leading to growing interest from western and Asian private investors in biofuels projects, as well as growing support from development partners for incorporating biofuels into government policies and development plans.

For African non-oil producing countries, biofuel production has the potential to provide a substitute for costly oil imports, one of the major uses of foreign exchange and sources of inflation in African economies, and to provide a new source of agricultural income in rural areas.

Tanzania is one of the African countries which have seen a rapid increase in biofuel production and investment proposals during the past several years. This report describes 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.


Biofuels in Africa: growing small-scale opportunities

Sonja Vermeulen, Emmanuel Sulle and Swan Fauveaud
November 2009, Briefing

Biofuels in Africa: growing small-scale opportunities

Global demand is driving vast commercial biofuels projects in developing countries. At the opposite end of the spectrum is small-scale bioenergy production. This offers a way for the poor to meet their energy needs and diversify their livelihoods without compromising food security or environmental integrity. Governments hope that it will be possible to combine the advantages of both large- and small-scale production of biofuels to generate energy security and GDP at the national level, while opening up local opportunities.

In Africa, most governments are keen to attract foreign direct investment, and see big business as a strategic means of scaling up rural development. But there is a middle way. By encouraging business models that bridge large and small enterprise, African governments could show that commercial competition can go hand in hand with a range of real local benefits.

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