Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

Competence Platform on Energy Crop and Agroforestry Systems for Arid and Semi-arid Ecosystems- Africa (COMPETE)
December 2007

Report on National Policies on Biofuels Sector Development in Sub-Saharan Africa
Download file Download complete version (278Kb ~ 1 min)

The primary objective of this paper is to examine the extent to which national policy frameworks for Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries such as poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSPs) and energy policies incorporate strategies for mainstreaming or supporting the development of the biofuel sector. Many national energy policies reviewed in this study contain strategies for renewable energy in general, but no specific strategies for the biofuels sector. In addition, many policies only contain general statements without any action plan or explicit priorities as an indication of the National Energy priorities. The policies do not specify an institutional agency to be charged with the responsibility of coordinating biofuels research and development activities. The lack of priority and institutional framework for implementation has contributed to the meagre progress in the development of biofuels sector in Africa.

With the growing interest in biofuels worldwide, there is need for national governments in sub-Saharan Africa to develop mechanisms for harnessing the potential of the fast growing industry and benefit from the growing international trade in biofuels while at the same time protect the environment and rural communities from being disadvantaged by large-scale cultivation of energy crops for biofuel production. Specifically, this study urges the national governments in sub-Saharan Africa
  • to develop comprehensive national biofuels policies and plans in consultation with stakeholders including regional economic communities (RECs) such as SADC, ECOWAS, and COMESA, and with AU/NEPAD that also include the incentives for private sector participation in the biofuel industry;
  • to raise the resources for infrastructural development for production, processing, storage, transporting and marketing of biofuel products;
  • to commit resources for research and development (R&D), capacity-building and technical support, and
  • to establish a regulatory and institutional framework to regulate and provide incentives for development and growth of the biofuel industry.

Report on International and Regional Policies and Biofuels Sector Development in Sub-Saharan Africa
Download file Download complete version (313Kb ~ 1 min)

This study analyses different regional and international biofuels policies and strategies with a view to assessing the extent to which biofuels policies and strategies of selected advanced countries, international agencies, and African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) promote or undermine sustainable development of a biofuels industry in African countries. Regional and international strategies reviewed include the EU, COMESA, East African Community, SADC, AU, US, ECOWAS, and three international strategies by UN agencies (UNIDO and UNCTAD focusing on trade and investment potential in biofuels, and the Kyoto Protocol which provides legally binding green house gas emission reductions). The process involved evaluating the content of different policies and strategies, assessing the measures (incentives) put in place to develop the biofuels sector, and identifying key factors driving the success of the various biofuels initiatives.

The main findings from this review are that, unlike in the developed countries, regional economic groupings in Africa such as SADC, COMESA, ECOWAS and the AU do not have a coherent regional policy agenda for developing the biofuels sector with specific targets. This has contributed to differences in terms of commitment to biofuels industry development by individual countries in the developing world, with some countries making technological advances in biofuels (e.g., South Africa) and others lagging behind.

The study has shown that member states of the EU and the USA commit huge financial resources for research and development and provide tax-incentives for promoting use of biofuels. Unlike in developed countries, there is little African government support to facilitate the development of the sector, resulting in small-scale production of energy crops without accompanying investment in infrastructure for processing, storage, distribution and marketing of biofuels products.

The absence of coherent regional and international policy frameworks largely emanates from the inadequate awareness and sensitization of the political and administrative leadership of the SSA region regarding the potential benefits as well as dangers of biofuels if not properly managed.

Many countries in Africa, including Angola, DRC, Mozambique, Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, have abundant land for growing energy crops for biofuels production without disturbing the traditional farming systems and the ecosystem. This potential can only be harnessed to benefit the rural masses and facilitate rural economic development if the regional economic communities in Africa develop a comprehensive regional strategy, and provide resources and incentives for the development of a vibrant biofuels industry.

Top of page   -   Home   -   Disclaimer
Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network
Octoplus Information Solutions