Map of sub-Saharan Africa showing current status of national biofuels policy
What are National Governments doing to promote their bioenergy sector?
- National African policies to promote biofuel production are not uniform. Some countries have already implemented policies; some are just beginning to define guidelines; while other countries – though the potential for biofuels production may be considerable – have not addressed the issue at all.
- PANGEA has determined that only nine countries – Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, and Swaziland – have implemented a specific biofuels policy.
- Fourteen more countries – Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Rwanda, Madagascar, Mauritius, Zambia, and Botswana – are currently developing specific policies, albeit without a definite implementation date.
- All other African countries either encompass bioenergy within a broader energy policy, or have no relevant policy whatsoever.
Why are national policies important?
- National bioenergy policies help to secure domestic demand for biofuels and biogas through binding blending mandates. Tax reductions and other fiscal incentives can also encourage production and facilitate sector development.
- Policies additionally give guidance to producers about the most suitable feedstock to being grown in the country, while establishing a network for distribution and sale.
- Comprehensive environmental and social sustainability criteria help to protect small-scale farmers from unfair dispossession, while preserving biodiversity and ensuring that bioenergy and food production are kept separate. By forcing products to adhere to a clear set of standards, national governments also ensure their eventual competitiveness in the international market.
What are Regional governments doing to promote their bioenergy sector?
- Of Sub-Saharan Africa’s eight ‘pillar’ RECs (and their three sub-groups), only the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) have specific biofuels policies. Each differs in approach.
- All others address biofuels within broader energy or renewable energy policies, which are varyingly comprehensive in their provisions.
Why are Regional Policies important?
- By implementing national biofuels policies in isolation, countries run the risk of creating markets that may be too small to sufficiently encourage supply, or establishing protectionist policies that undermine the prospects of international trade.
- Regional cooperation can help to safeguard against these pitfalls, potentially offering national governments a harmonised regulatory framework, mutual policy support, and capacity building assistance; all of which will foster more stable and developed national policies, and improve the industry’s investment climate.3
- Collective synchronisation will also provide the opportunity to coordinate R&D initiatives and transfer knowledge and technology across national borders; thus accelerating sector development.
PANGEA works to further develop national and regional policies across Africa, and believes in their ability to protect the rights of small-scale farmers and rural communities, while ensuring them increased income and general well-being.