Promising Future for Biofuels in Sub-Saharan Africa

There is huge potential for biofuel production in sub-Saharan African countries such as Nigeria, Uganda and Angola, provided there is a concerted effort from key stakeholders. The production of feedstock and the fuel itself would ultimately lead to socio-economic improvement and, with the correct implementation and management, the controversy about feedstock used for fuel vs. food can be resolved.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Strategic Opportunities for the Biofuel Industry in Key Sub-Saharan African Countries, finds that while the market is still in its development stage, there is extensive land available for biofuel feedstock production. Expansion of the agricultural sector to include crop production for biofuels has however been hampered by the lack of biofuel policy, limited resources dedicated to the agricultural sector, declining agricultural production and climate change.

"Sub-Saharan Africa represents a potentially lucrative market for the development, growth and use of biofuel owing to its suitable climatic conditions, vast arable land for feedstock production and the need for African countries to reduce their fuel import bills," notes Frost and Sullivan Industry Analyst Mani James. "The production of feedstocks and biofuel would improve the agriculture sector which would, in turn, promote employment and wealth creation of these communities."

Countries in this region have large rural communities that are among the poorest in the world. The majority of the fuel currently being produced from biomass is consumed by farmers for their daily operational requirements. With the correct management of the agriculture industry, the controversy about feedstock used for fuel vs. food could be resolved.

Nigeria, Uganda and Angola have a total of 245.72 million hectares of potential arable land available, of which currently only 16.4 per cent is cultivated. Therefore, sufficient land is available for the production of feedstock such as sugar cane, cassava, sweet sorghum, palm oil and jatropha.

The major challenges facing biofuel producers are the lack of infrastructure and poorly developed energy and commercial agriculture sectors. Angola has the added disadvantage of many still undiscovered landmines.

The biofuel industry is also hampered by the lack of technical skills. The impact of this restraint is expected to continue until substantial development of this industry has taken place and employees gain in experience. In addition, market information including price, quality and regional opportunities is not readily available.

"For commercial biofuel production in these countries it is important that the basic infrastructure including transport and electricity is improved," explains James. "Government participation will be important to ensure wealth creation for rural populations."

A sustainable biofuel industry in Nigeria, Uganda and Angola will depend on several factors such as political and economic stability, government policies and frameworks, enhanced market co-ordination among different market participants as well as investment and improvement in the transport, energy and agriculture sectors. Sustainable feedstock production, the creation of adequate feedstock for biofuel production without compromising food availability and improved skill, wealth and job creation will also support the success of the biofuel industry in the region.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this news story?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.