Democratic Republic of Congo

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Bioenergy > Regions > Africa > Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Information about biofuels and bioenergy in Democratic Republic of Congo.




Gorillas are found in the remaining rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo but 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 DRC where these gorillas are found.


  • Palm Oil Fuels Land Grabs In Africa – Analysis, 18 September 2011 by Eurasia Review: "Malaysia and Indonesia currently account for about 83 per cent of production and 89 per cent of global exports of palm oil."
    • "A recent moratorium in Indonesia on new concessions for land in forest areas and peat-lands, as full of loopholes as it may be, is driving industrial giants such as Sime Darby, Olam International and Wilmar International and a host of European, American and Asian investors and speculators seeking to get in on the palm oil boom to search for new lands."
    • "In Liberia, a country that was ravaged for years by war, an estimated 5.6 per cent of the total land mass has been leased out to foreign investors for palm oil production."
    • "In neighbouring Sierra Leone, another nation trying to regain its own food security and heal itself after a long civil war, European and Asian firms are securing long-term (50 year) leases on at least half a million hectares of farmland, almost 10 percent of the country’s arable land."
    • "In Cameroon, foreign investors from Asia, the US and Europe are rapidly securing enormous land banks, often in fragile forested areas, for palm oil estates. The same is true in Benin, Nigeria, Gabon, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a Chinese company is reportedly [pdf] working to secure 2.8 million hectares for oil palm for biodiesel production."[1]
  • 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."[2]


  • Cars and People Compete for Grain, 1 June 2010 by Earth Policy Institute: "Historically the food and energy economies were separate, but now with the massive U.S. capacity to convert grain into ethanol, that is changing....If the fuel value of grain exceeds its food value, the market will simply move the commodity into the energy economy."
    • "For every additional acre planted to corn to produce fuel, an acre of land must be cleared for cropping elsewhere. But there is little new land to be brought under the plow unless it comes from clearing tropical rainforests in the Amazon and Congo basins and in Indonesia or from clearing land in the Brazilian cerrado."[3]
  • 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."[4]


  • Charcoal trade threatens gorillas, 12 December 2009 by UPI: "The habitat of rare mountain gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo is being threatened by charcoal production, officials said."
    • "Thousands of kilns mounded from dirt within the 3,000-square-mile Virunga National Park produce charcoal for rebel forces. The park is home to about 200 endangered mountain gorillas."
    • "To break the reliance on charcoal, villagers and refugees are being urged to use presses, paid for by the Rwandan wildlife service, that turn...leaf mulch, rice husks and other organic waste into fuel briquettes".[5]
  • China to establish giant oil palm plantation in DR Congo, 10 July 2009 by mongobay:"ZTE Agribusiness Company Ltd, a Chinese firm, plans to establish a one million hectare oil palm plantation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) for biofuel production, reports China state media."
    • "Zhang Peng, ZTE's regional manager, told Xinhua that the plantation could yield up to 5 million tons of palm oil per year, 90 percent of which could be converted to biodiesel. He claimed that the plantation would employ "thousands" of local Congolese workers."[6]



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