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Bioenergy > Regions > Africa

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This page provides information on biofuels and bioenergy in Africa, including details on specific countries.


Africa-wide activities

Jatropha Nursery in Kaffrine, Senegal

Sub-regions / Countries

Click the country names to see pages about specific countries. (Blue links indicate pages that exist in the wiki; red links indicate pages that do not exist yet.)

Regional activities


Also see news and specific country pages.


  • Africa: Stop Human Rights Abuses Fuelled By EU Biofuels Policy, Says Actionaid, 25 April 2012 by ActionAid (London): "As the European Commission is given an opportunity to revise the EU's biofuels targets in 2012, a new ActionAid report reveals that the EU continues to ignore that its biofuels policies are driving up global food prices and pushing people in poor countries off their land."
    • "'Fuel for thought' highlights that increased demand for biofuels may push global food prices to crisis levels; EU's biofuels policies alone could push up oilseed prices by up to 33%, maize by up to 22%, sugar by up to 21% and wheat by up to 10%, between now and 20201."
    • "Laura Sullivan, ActionAid's Head of European Advocacy said: 'If it continues to ignore the impacts of its biofuels policy on people living in some of the poorest parts of the planet, the EU will effectively be sponsoring hunger and human rights abuses on a massive scale'."
  • "The ActionAid report, launched at a biofuels debate with participants from the European Commission, United Nations, NGOs and business, shows how a series of dodgy deals by European companies have led to mass displacements and rights abuses in countries in Africa and Latin America." [3]


  • Palm Oil-Based Biofuels Should Not Be Called Green, New Study Claims, 5 December 2011 by Jakarta Globe: "The benefits of biofuels derived from palm oil have once again been brought into question following a new report that says the reduced emissions from burning the fuel are far outweighed by the clearing of peatland forests to grow the crop."
    • "It found that for palm oil in particular, the carbon debt, or net amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of using the crop as a biofuel, was the highest at 472.8 to 1,743.7 tons of CO2 per hectare."
    • "Louis Verchot, a Cifor researcher and co-author of the report, titled 'Implications of Biodiesel-Induced Land-Use Changes for CO2 Emissions: Case Studies in Tropical America, Africa, and Southeast Asia,' said palm oil-based biofuels that required the clearing of natural forest would never bring about a net emissions reduction."
    • "It also found that using biofuel from oil palms planted in peatlands required the longest period of time to repay the carbon debt, ranging from 206 to 220 years."
    • "The report, published in a special issue of the journal Ecology and Society, concluded that the outcomes 'raise serious questions about the sustainability of biofuel production.'"[4]
  • UK firm's failed biofuel dream wrecks lives of Tanzania villagers, 29 October 2011 by The Guardian: "A quarter of the village's land in Kisarawe district was acquired by a British biofuels company in 2008, with the promise of financial compensation, 700 jobs, water wells, improved schools, health clinics and roads."
    • "But the company has gone bust, leaving villagers not just jobless but landless as well."
    • "The tale of London-based Sun Biofuels's misadventure in Kisarawe links the broken hopes of the villagers to offshore tax havens and mysterious new owners, tracked down by the Observer, and ultimately to petrol pumps in the UK and across Europe. The final link results from the mandatory blending of biofuels into European petrol and diesel."
    • "The aim is to reduce carbon emissions, but many say biofuels actually increase pollution."
    • "'The situation in Kisarawe is heartbreaking, but the real tragedy is that it is far from unique. Communities across Africa and beyond are losing their land as a result of the massive biofuel targets set by our government,' said Josie Cohen at development group ActionAid, which works in Kisarawe."
    • "The thirst for biofuels to meet the UK and EU's rising targets has led British companies to lead the charge into Africa. Half the 3.2m hectares of biofuel land identified is linked to 11 British companies, the biggest proportion of any country."[5]
  • US must stop promoting biofuels to tackle world hunger, says thinktank, 11 October 2011 by The Guardian: "A new report, the Global Hunger Index, warned that US government support for corn ethanol was a major factor behind this year's food price spikes – and was projected to fuel further volatility in food prices over the next decade."
    • "Although the report noted some improvements over the past 20 years, 26 countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, are still at extreme risk of hunger including Burundi, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Eritrea."
    • "But the report also suggested that efforts to reduce world hunger would be constrained without action on climate change and changes in US and European government policies promoting the use of food stocks as fuel."
    • "In practical terms, this means countries that import food – especially those in sub-Saharan Africa which import a greater share of their food – are at the mercy of US domestic policies governing corn ethanol."
    • "US policies encouraging corn ethanol production, such as subsidies and mandates, ensure more corn is grown for fuel rather than food – especially when oil prices are high."[6]
  • Biofuels may meet development needs of Sub-Saharan Africa, 3 October 2011 by Center for International Forestry Research blog: "Biofuel expansion has enormous potential to stimulate rural development in Sub-Saharan Africa, but ensuring local community benefits and adequate protections for food production and forests will require strategic policy interventions and close collaboration among stakeholders, according to a new study by the Center for International Forestry Research."
    • "Biofuels have been touted as a ‘green’ alternative to fossil fuels, however critics of biofuel production argue that the expansion of biofuel development can often contribute to deforestation."
    • "Moreover, increasing land acquisition for biofuel expansion rather than food production in Africa could undermine food security and exacerbate a number of underlying social issues."
    • "The study urges for increased collaboration between government and the biofuel industry which will ensure that biofuel development can enhance livelihoods by bringing in urgently needed investment in the agricultural sector that would result in improved infrastructure and increased cash income in impoverished rural areas."[7]
  • The Extraordinary Collapse of Jatropha as a Global Biofuel, 2 August 2011 by Environmental Science & Technology: "In a massive planting program of unprecedented scale millions of marginal farmers and landless people were encouraged to plant Jatropha across India through attractive schemes....Similar measures were undertaken across other developing countries involving millions of small farmers in the hope that it would not only provide renewable energy but also enhance their incomes....By 2008, Jatropha had already been planted over an estimated 900000 ha globally of which an overwhelming 85% was in Asia, 13% in Africa and the rest in Latin America, and by 2015 Jatropha is expected to be planted on 12.8 million ha worldwide."
    • "But the results are anything but encouraging. In India the provisions of mandatory blending could not be enforced as seed production fell far short of the expectation and a recent study has reported discontinuance by 85% of the Jatropha farmers....In Tanzania the results are very unsatisfactory and a research study found the net present value of a five-year investment in Jatropha plantation was negative with a loss of US$ 65 per ha on lands with yields of 2 tons/ha of seeds...."
    • "...A case study of Jatropha plantations raised in 1993–1994 in the Indian province of Andhra Pradesh had reported actual yields that were far below expectations and the species was found to be prone to termite attacks, water logging, vulnerable to drought in the planting year and delayed yields."
    • "...As an immediate step an international body like the FAO may have to intervene to stop further extension of Jatropha in new areas without adequate research inputs. Greater investments in dissemination of scientific data will help in ensuring due diligence does not cause undue delays in decision making."[8]
  • Biofuels land grab in Kenya's Tana Delta fuels talk of war, 2 July 2011 by The Guardian: "[E]viction of the [Gamba Manyatta] villagers to make way for a sugar cane plantation is part of a wider land grab going on in Kenya's Tana Delta that is not only pushing people off plots they have farmed for generations, stealing their water resources and raising tribal tensions that many fear will escalate into war, but also destroying a unique wetland habitat that is home to hundreds of rare and spectacular birds."
    • "The irony is that most of the land is being taken for allegedly environmental reasons – to allow private companies to grow water-thirsty sugar cane and jatropha for the biofuels so much in demand in the west, where green legislation, designed to ease carbon dioxide emissions, is requiring they are mixed with petrol and diesel."
    • "The delta, one of Kenya's last wildernesses and one of the most important bird habitats in Africa, is the flood plain of the Tana river, which flows 1,014km from Mount Kenya to the Indian Ocean."
    • "The delta's people are trying to fight their own government over the huge blocks of land being turned over to companies including the Canadian company, Bedford Biofuels, which was this year granted a licence by the Kenyan environmental regulator for a 10,000-hectare jatropha 'pilot' project. A UK-based firm, G4 Industries Ltd, has been awarded a licence for 28,000 hectares."[9]
  • Can Biofuels Save Sub-Saharan Africa?, 28 June by the Green Blog of the New York Times: "Last week, the journal Nature published a special outlook issue dedicated to the state of, and prospects for, biofuels production in an energy-hungry future. In the article 'A New Hope for Africa,' Lee R. Lynd, a professor of environmental engineering design at Dartmouth College, and Jeremy Woods, a lecturer on bioenergy at Imperial College in London, argue that, far from posing a direct threat to the world’s food supply, the development of an African bioenergy industry has a great potential to increase food security for some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people."
    • "On marginal lands that cannot support agriculture in any case, they see great potential for biofuel crops, which require less water and nutrients. Africa’s vast land resources could also make the continent a competitive exporter of biofuels, which could bring in money for the basic infrastructure needed to transport and process food, they argued. It could also provide an economic incentive for rehabilitating degraded lands, the thinking goes."
    • "In an interview, Timothy Searchinger, a research scholar at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, took issue with that idea, arguing that people in Africa are hungry partly because of diversions of land elsewhere to bioenergy and resultant spikes in food prices. He contends that the problem will only be exacerbated by the development of an African biofuel industry."
    • "His chief complaint is that while some marginal lands there can be converted to growing biofuels without highly significant negative effects, the potential profitability of biofuels will inevitably lead to massive land conversion and consequent releases of carbon dioxide."[10]
  • Biofuels boom in Africa as British firms lead rush on land for plantations, 31 May 2011 by The Guardian: "British firms have acquired more land in Africa for controversial biofuel plantations than companies from any other country, a Guardian investigation has revealed."
    • "Liquid fuels made from plants – such as bioethanol – are hailed by some as environmentally-friendly replacements for fossil fuels. Because they compete for land with crop plants, biofuels have also been linked to record food prices and rising hunger. There are also fears they can increase greenhouse gas emissions."
    • "A market has been created by British and EU laws requiring the blending of rising amounts of biofuels into petrol and diesel, but the rules were condemned as unethical and "backfiring badly" in April by a Nuffield Council on Bioethics commission."
    • "In the Guardian survey Italy is the next biggest player with seven companies, followed by Germany (six), France (six) and the US (four). Brazil and China have been acquiring land in Africa for biofuels and food but the investigation identified only a handful of established biofuels projects."[11]
  • Development Agencies Support Harmful Oil Palm Production, 9 May 2011 by IPS: "Increasing industrial production of oil palm in sub-Saharan African countries, carried out by foreign corporations, is destroying the livelihoods of thousands of Africans and the biodiversity of ecosystems."
    • "African countries most affected are Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana. But palm oil fields and industrial facilities are located in at least the half of sub-Saharan African countries."
    • "In the vast majority of cases, the industrial production of oil palm is in the hands of foreign corporations, such as the French Bolloré group, the Brazilian petroleum group Petrobras, the Italian company ENI and the Singapore-based Wilmar International."
    • "The industrial system of oil palm production in Africa 'is based on monoculture plantations where the land only produces palm fruits for industry,' according to Ricardo Carrere, an expert in forest management at the World Rainforest Movement (WRM)."
    • "'In most if not all cases, land is taken away from local communities with little or no compensation, and bio-diverse ecosystems, mostly forests, are destroyed and substituted by large areas of palm monocultures,' says Carrere."
    • "Carrere raises alarm about the 'crucial role' of national, regional and multilateral institutions in the promotion and development of foreign investments in the industrialisation of palm oil production in sub-Saharan Africa."[12]
  • Palm Oil Lobby Fights World Bank's Environmental Initiatives in Indonesia, Malaysia, 20 April 2011 by Treehugger: "We know how destructive the palm oil industry in Indonesia and Malaysia, so it was great news when the World Bank announced that social and environmental safeguards would serve as guiding principles in its lending to the palm oil sector."
    • "The World Bank said it would try to 'support smallholders and foster benefit sharing with rural communities,' but that palm oil lobbying groups World Growth International and the Initiative for Public Policy Analysis (IPPA) attacked the Bank for doing so."
    • "The latter group issued a press release saying: 'The Bank's new framework for palm oil engagement elevates radical ideological opposition to agriculture development above the needs of the poor and hungry in Africa'—a position some are spinning as the Bank saying the environment is more important than African farmers."
    • "What that fails to recognize is the precise link between climate change, degradation of the environment, and increased vulnerability for already impoverished people, specifically in Africa."[13]
  • Small-scale farmers increasingly at risk from 'global land grabbing', 15 April 2011 by The Guardian: "Fresh evidence from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the former Soviet Union was presented last week at an international conference on 'global land grabbing' convened by the Land Deal Politics Initiative and hosted by the Future Agricultures Consortium at the Institute of Development Studies, where researchers revealed documentation of land deals amounting to over 80m hectares – almost twice what was previously estimated."
    • "With land deals accelerating, particularly in Africa, it is essential that the fine print of such deals is subject to careful scrutiny, and that transparent and accountable governance mechanisms are put in place."
    • "The rush to acquire land is driven by four factors: food price volatility and unreliable markets; the energy crisis and interest in agro-energy/biofuels; the global financial crisis; and a new market for carbon trading."
    • "The commodification and privatisation of land and the dispossession of farmers and herders is seldom taken into account in the boardrooms of corporations or in high-level meetings with governments."[14]
  • Impacts of Biofuel Targets on Land Use and Food Supply, 6 April 2011 by Journalist Resource: "The increased global production of biofuels such as ethanol has become a subject of controversy, as land formerly dedicated to the growing of food crops is repurposed to meet energy needs. Each year, more crops such as sugar, palm oil, corn and cassava are diverted for these purposes."
    • "A paper by the World Bank, 'The Impacts of Biofuel Targets on Land-Use Change and Food Supply,' uses land-allocation information from the biofuels production sectors to determine the levels of competition between biofuels and food industries for agricultural commodities. The authors model the potential effects of increased biofuels production to meet current national targets."
    • "The paper’s findings include:
      • Expanding global biofuels production to meet current national biofuels targets would generally reduce global GDP between 0.02% and 0.06%, with the national GDP impacts varying across countries.
      • Significant Expansion in biofuels production would necessitate substantial land re-allocation, resulting in as much a 5% decreases in forest and pasture lands.
      • The expansion of biofuels would likely cause a 1% reduction in global food supply.
      • The magnitude of the impact on food costs is not as large as perceived earlier — sugar, corn and oil seeds would experience 1% to 8% price increases by 2020 — but increases would be significant in developing countries such as India and those in Sub-Saharan Africa."[15]
  • World Bank lifts moratorium on palm oil investments, 1 April 2011 by Reuters: "The World Bank on Friday lifted an 18-month global moratorium on lending for new palm oil investments, endorsing a new strategy that focuses on supporting small farmers that dominate the sector."
    • "After meeting with 3,000 stakeholders, including farmers, environmental and social groups, and businesses, the World Bank's private-sector lender, the International Finance Corp (IFC), said palm oil investments could contribute to economic growth and reduce poverty, while also being eco-friendly."
    • "Palm oil employs over six million rural poor around the globe. Some 70 percent of palm oil production is used as staple cooking oil by the poor in Asia and Africa."
    • "Palm oil companies have said the industry has been unfairly vilified for cutting down forests and draining peatlands -- contributing to huge amounts of planet-warming carbon dioxide entering into the atmosphere."[16]
  • Nigeria: Why We Could Not Realise Biofuels Project - Ericsson, 17 February 2011 by "Ericsson has stated that the biofuels initiative it tried to embark upon in Nigeria in 2007, could not be the realised because of concerns with issues of food security."
    • "Operators in the Nigerian telecoms space are hampered in their operations by inadequate power supply resulting in operators using alternative power supply to address over 90 percent of their power needs. The need to find a solution to the power challenge faced by operators in Africa led to Ericsson creating solutions that will help operators tackle the challenge."
    • "Vice President of Ericsson's Corporate Responsibility Unit, Ms Elaine Weidman Grunewald said 'Nigeria was probably not the right African country to start the project with at that time because there were issues of food crops, and we tried using palm oil for fuel instead of food...The price of Palm oil was too high to make the project work.'"
    • "The biofuel programme which is an initiative of Ericsson, and the GSM Association aims to connect off- grid locations by identifying and processing locally grown crops like coconut, cotton and jathropha into biofuel that will power base stations in the developing world."[17]
  • Global Ethanol Production to Reach 88.7 Billion Litres in 2011, 14 February 2011 by Marketwire: "The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) forecasts ethanol production to hit 88.7 billion litres in 2011 replacing the need for one million barrels of crude oil per day worldwide."
    • "The United States continues to be the largest ethanol producer in the world with production levels expected to reach over 51 billion litres (13.5 U.S. gallons) in 2011."
    • "The African continent has tremendous potential for biofuels production; however, production levels remain very low despite recent efforts by some countries to kick-start biofuel programs."
    • "A recent World Bank report highlighted Africa's biofuel potential suggesting that high energy prices and the availability of productive land represent and enormous opportunity for African biofuels production."[18]
  • Failure to act on crop shortages fuelling political instability, experts warn, 7 February 2011 by The Guardian: "World leaders are ignoring potentially disastrous shortages of key crops, and their failures are fuelling political instability in key regions, food experts have warned."
    • "Food prices have hit record levels in recent weeks, according to the United Nations, and soaring prices for staples such as grains over the past few months are thought to have been one of the factors contributing to an explosive mix of popular unrest in Egypt and Tunisia."
    • "The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation said this week that world food prices hit a record high in January, for the seventh consecutive month. Its food price index was up 3.4% from December to the highest level since the organisation started measuring food prices in 1990."
    • "Water scarcity, combined with soil erosion, climate change, the diversion of food crops to make biofuels, and a growing population, were all putting unprecedented pressure on the world's ability to feed itself, according to [Lester] Brown" of the Earth Policy Institute.
    • "Richer countries such as China and Middle Eastern oil producers have reacted by buying up vast tracts of land in poorer parts of the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa and parts of south-east Asia."
    • "There were widespread food riots in 2008 in Africa, Latin America and some Asian countries, as soaring grain prices put staple foods out of reach of millions of poor people."[19]


  • Biofuel jatropha falls from wonder-crop pedestal, 21 January 2011 by Reuters: "Jatropha, a biofuel-producing plant once touted as a wonder-crop, is turning out to be much less dependable than first thought, both environmentalists and industry players say."
    • "Some biofuel producers found themselves agreeing with many of the criticisms detailed in a report launched by campaign group Friends of the Earth this week -- 'Jatropha: money doesn't grow on trees.'"
    • "Jatropha has been widely heralded as a wonder plant whose cultivation on non-arable land in Africa, Asia and Latin America would provide biodiesel and jobs in poor countries without using farmland needed to feed growing numbers of local people."
    • "'The idea that jatropha can be grown on marginal land is a red herring,' Harry Stourton, Business Development Director of UK-based Sun Biofuels, which cultivates jatropha in Mozambique and Tanzania, told Reuters."
    • "'It does grow on marginal land, but if you use marginal land you'll get marginal yields,' he said."[20]
  • Land grabbing for biofuels hits Ghana, other African countries – Report, 30 August 2010 by Emmanuel K. Dogbevi: "There appears to be a gradual but ominous attempt to turn Africa into the production centre of some selected food crops and non-food crops for the production of biofuels to feed industry and vehicles in Europe."
    • "According to [a recent report by the environmental group, Friends of the Earth International], a third of the land sold or acquired in Africa, some five million hectares is intended for fuel crops."
    • "The report profiles land-grab cases that have happened in 11 African countries, most of which is being used or intended to be used to grow biofuel crops like Jatropha and palm oil."
    • "The report indicated further that concerns about energy supply appear to be a key driver behind the demand for agrofuel crops – with the EU aiming for 10% of transport fuel to come from “renewable” sources by 2010. These EU targets have established a clear market – which given land prices and the lack of available land within the EU will inevitably be met by imports."[24]
  • Biofuels Don't Threaten Food Security - Study, 30 August 2010 by Catherine Riungu: "'Crops can be produced for bioenergy on a significant scale in West, East and Southern Africa without affecting food production or natural habitats,' said the joint report by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, Imperial College London, and Camco International."
    • "'If approached with the proper policies and processes and with the inclusion of all the various stakeholders, bioenergy is not only compatible with food production; it can greatly benefit agriculture in Africa,' said Rocio Diaz-Chavez, the report's lead author and research fellow at Imperial College, London."
    • 'Bioenergy production can bring investments in land, infrastructure and human resources that could help unlock Africa's idle potential and positively increase food production,' she added."
    • "Among the report's findings is that there is enough land to significantly increase the cultivation of crops such as sugarcane, sorghum, and jatropha for biofuels without diminishing food production."[25]
Sketch of an apparatus for testing biofuel potential of various agricultural wastes, created by the RPI spring 2010 biomass capstone group. Image from The New York Times blog article A New Approach to Biofuel in Africa
  • A New Approach to Biofuel in Africa, 12 July 2010 by Ron Eglash: "The biofuel concept: If you just burn plant materials, you put out a lot of bad pollutants. But if you heat the materials in a container without oxygen (“pyrolysis”), you leave most of the carbon as “biochar,” which makes an excellent soil additive (in fact Amazon Indians built up rich soils over hundreds of years using biochar). The gas that is given off by pyrolysis can be processed into clean-burning fuel."
    • "All of which sounds great, but skeptics point out that Africa is a prime target for biofuel land grabs, which destroy small farms and forest preserves. Hence the importance of using agricultural residues like corn cobs, and researching the impact."[27]
  • Africa Energy Forum Considers Renewable Energy and Biofuels Development in Africa, 2 July 2010 by "The Africa Energy Forum, which took place from 28 June-1 July 2010, in Basel, Switzerland, examined the interlinkages among environmental concerns, development goals and power supply in Africa."
    • "The Forum included, inter alia: an Africa Renewable Energy Forum, which considered government, financial and technology and efficiency solutions, as well as best practice examples of renewable energy projects; an Energy Summit, during which government ministers, industry leaders and development and environment experts discussed energy development goals; and AfricaBIOFUELS, during which African and European Government representatives and investors offered their perspective on the development of the African biofuels sector."[28]
  • NGOs Say EU Fuelling Hunger By Grabbing Land For Biofuels , 29 June 2010 by Eurasia Review: "Western development and environmental groups warned Tuesday that EU biofuels targets are leading to uncontrollable land grabbing from poor communities in Africa, pushing more people into hunger."
    • "A day before EU member states submit their renewable energy plans to the EU, NGOs Action Aid and Friends of the Earth Europe called on European leaders to halt the expansion of biofuels."[30]
  • Food and water drive Africa land grab, 29 April 2010 by UPI:"[T]he scramble for Africa is intensifying, with investment banks, hedge funds, commodity traders, sovereign wealth funds, corporations and business tycoons out to grab some of the world's cheapest land -- for profit."
    • "China has leased 6.91 million acres in the Democratic Republic of Congo for the world's largest oil palm plantation."
    • "According to various assessments, up to 123.5 million acres of African land -- double the size of Britain -- has been snapped up or is being negotiated by governments or wealthy investors."
    • "As the foreign purchases of African land multiply unchecked, the United Nations and the World Bank are seeking to bring the land-grabbing under some sort of control."[31]
  • From palm oil to cotton, Benin now shifts to rice, 4 January 2010 by Daily Nation: "Known for its palm oil and cotton production, Benin’s agriculture sector wants to become known for high-quality rice and to quit importing rice by 2011, according to the government."
    • "FAO estimates Benin is using 8 per cent of available land for rice cultivation and could save $55 million and cover 70 per cent of domestic demand if it invested more in rice production."
    • "West African rice imports reached six million tonnes in 2001 and are likely to rise to 11 million by 2010, according to FAO."
Western lowland gorillas are only found in the remaining equatorial rainforests of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, and the Republic of Congo. Forest clearing for subsistence agriculture, commercial logging, civil unrest and the expanding bushmeat trade threaten the gorillas' habitat and survival. REDD could propose economic incentives for avoiding deforestation and degradation of tropical forests in developing countries where these gorillas are found.


  • Redd in Africa: 'how we can earn money from air by harvesting carbon', 5 October 2009 by "Kenyan ranch shows how UN scheme could protect forests that absorb CO2 and earn billions of dollars for their owners."
    • "The carbon saved would be traded on the growing voluntary carbon market and after 2012 when the next round of the Kyoto treaty becomes affective, Rukinga could qualify as an official Kenyan government Redd scheme, attracting public money from Britain and other rich countries seeking to offset emissions they have legally committed to cut."
  • Africa's burning charcoal problem, 25 September 2009 by BBC: "[A]ccording to the Tanzania Association of Oil Marketing Companies, 20,000 bags of charcoal enter the capital Dar es Salaam every 24 hours....But the impact of this is chilling."
    • "Aid agency Christian Aid estimates that 182 million people in Africa are at risk of dying as a consequence of climate change by the end of the century....One adaptation option for Africa is to keep her forests standing so that they provide essential environmental services such as carbon sinks".
    • "But Africa has not been very good at this....According to the UN the continent is losing forest twice as fast as the rest of the world."
    • "Wood and its by-product charcoal are, unless radical steps are taken, likely to remain the primary energy source for decades....Additionally, charcoal is a lucrative business..."[32]
  • Why Ghana is attracting investments in biofuels, 31 January 2009 by Ghana Business News: "Ghana has become a major centre of attraction for the cultivation of biofuels in Africa for a number of reasons," including agricultural productivity, political stability and labor costs.
    • "Currently, the country features prominently on the radar of alternative energy interests, especially in the cultivation of the non-food plant jatropha for the production of biofuels."
    • "[C]ompanies from Brazil, Italy, Norway, Israel, China, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and India" have invested in projects in "the Volta, Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern and the Northern regions of Ghana," mainly for jatropha.
    • "While its supporters argue that [jatropha] can be grown on semi-arid land and so poses less of a threat to food output than other biofuel feedstocks such as grains and vegetable oils, its opponents argue that investors are taking away productive agriculture land from poor local farmers for the purpose."
    • "Currently, there is an ongoing debate, accusations and counter-accusations of land grabbing between NGOs, Action Aid and FoodSPAN on one hand and Rural Consult, a consultancy firm on biofuels on the other."[34]
  • Can "green charcoal" help save the trees?, 20 April 2009 by IRIN: "An environmental NGO in northern Senegal is about to go to market with 'green charcoal' – a household fuel produced from agricultural waste materials to replace wood and charcoal in cooking stoves."
    • "The 'green charcoal' is produced by compressing agricultural waste, like the invasive typha weed, into briquets and then carbonising them using a machine. The product has the look and feel of traditional charcoal and burns similarly."
    • "'The technology is efficient, effective and economical because we can produce a substitute for charcoal at half the price,' Guy Reinaud, director of Pro Natura International, the French NGO that has partnered with the Senegalese government on the green charcoal project."
    • "ProNatura will soon start a project in Mali, transforming cotton stems into green charcoal, and plans similar projects in Niger, Madagascar, China, India and Brazil."[35]
  • Ethanol Project: Global Recognition for Nigeria, 1 January 2009 by THISDAY:
    • "There is no doubt that Nigeria is blazing the trail in renewable energy sector, which ethanol is the final product. The initiative is to stem the effect of global warming, which has become a matter of serious concern dominating local and foreign discourse. Interestingly, a Nigerian company is already making waves in this important sector, which is big business in developed countries of the world."
    • "The Global Biofuels Limited, the first biofuels refinery in Nigeria, endorsed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), is the company facilitating biofuels production in Nigeria. The company’s investments in ethanol projects have earned Nigeria international recognition."

Endangered leopard in Botswana's Okavango Delta. The Okavango is one of the world's largest inland deltas, supports an astounding array of wildlife, and could be highly vulnerable to the effects of global climate change.


  • Biofuel producers warn EU over "unjustifiably complex" sustainability rules, 7 November 2008 by BusinessGreen: "Eight developing countries have written to the EU warning they will complain to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) if it passes proposed legislation designed to improve the environmental sustainability of biofuels by restricting the types of fuels the bloc imports."
    • "The EU is considering legislation that is intended to ban the purchase of biofuels from energy crop plantations that are believed to harm the environment and lead to food shortages by displacing land used for food crops and contributing to rainforest deforestation."
    • "[E]ight countries – Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Indonesia and Malaysia – have written to the EU to protest against the proposals" in a letter that "claims that the new rules would 'impose unjustifiably complex requirements on producers' and argues that environmental criteria 'relating to land-use change will impinge disproportionately on developing countries'."[36]
  • Africa Becoming a Biofuel Battleground, 5 September 2008 by Spiegel Online: "Western companies are pushing to acquire vast stretches of African land to meet the world's biofuel needs. Local farmers and governments are being showered with promises. But is this just another form of economic colonialism?"
    • "Africa offers oil [plant] farmers virtually ideal conditions for their purposes: underused land in many places, low land prices, ownership that is often unclear and, most of all, regimes capable of being influenced."[37]








Women and girls in parts of developing countries spend many hours collecting wood for cooking in the home. (Flickr Creative Commons image by Genocide Intervention Network).

See books, reports, scientific papers, position papers and websites for additional useful resources.

  • Grounded decisions: Informing policies that help the vulnerable adapt by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), 2009-2010 annual report. "Grounded decisions reports on CCAA (Climate Change Adaptation in Africa) activities and results for our fourth year of programming. It highlights the range of approaches our partners have taken to influence adaptation policies – and the results they are achieving."
  • Gender Mainstreaming Guide for Africa Biogas Partnership Programme by ENERGIA, July 2010. "The Guide targets non-gender specialists in recognising and addressing gender issues in their work, with the intention of demystifying gender, and clarifying the concept and practice of 'gender mainstreaming' within African Biogas Partnership Program. Accompanied by a Resource Kit, this Guide uses experiences from Asia as well as Africa."
  • Sustainable Bioenergy Report in UEMOA Member Countries October 2008 report by United Nations Foundation, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development and the Energy and Security Group. Main findings include that bioenergy can provide significant economic and environmental opportunities for rural areas in West Africa.

Information sources

Africa edit
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