Biofuels Markets Africa Conference

Date and Venue: 5-7 November; Cape Town, South Africa

Energy is fundamental to poverty reduction and the economic transformation of Africa and clean and safe energy sources are essential for achieving the United Nations Millenium Development Goals. Energy production and use affect the social, economic and environmental dimensions of the continent’s development. The availability and use of energy will to a large extent determine how and whether African countries increase agricultural productivity, provide safe water, achieve higher levels of industrialization, and efficiently use information and communication technologies to become integrated into the global economy. The nature and range of energy sources that the continent develops and uses will also determine how well its natural environment is sustained. However, most African countries face various forms of energy insecurity. They also rely on a narrow range of energy sources that are not environmentally sound. For many African countries, oil makes up a significant portion of gross imports, a major drain on their economies.

In the wake of the dramatic increase in oil prices beginning in 2005, biofuels are now receiving a notable increase in interest from policy makers, investors, and the public alike. There is growing interest on the part of governments and the private sector in developed countries and in many developing countries, in expanding the use of biofuels derived from agricultural and forestry biomass. As a result, this century could see a significant switch from a fossil fuel to a bioenergy-based economy, with agriculture and forestry as the leading sources of biomass for biofuels such as fuelwood, charcoal, wood pellets, bioethanol, biodiesel and bioelectricity. Although biofuels are still more costly to produce than fossil fuels, their use is increasing in countries across the world. Encouraged by policy measures, global production of biofuels is now estimated to be over 35 billion litres. As the biofuels business continues to boom and the momentum gathers, more opportunities for the financing and development of biofuels projects in Africa are becoming apparent. Widespread use of biofuels could provide greater energy security, improved quality of life for both rural and urban populations, economic development, opportunities for job creation and poverty alleviation, especially in rural areas.

Purpose of the Conference
The main purpose of the conference is to contribute to the development of a sustainable biofuels industry in Africa.

The event aims to generate innovative thinking for advancing a sustainable bioenergy agenda, and engage stakeholders in addressing the vast range of opportunities and challenges relating to biofuels. Also to assess sustainability challenges and try to identify viable solutions to harnessing the potential of bioenergy as a means of enhancing access to cleaner energy, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and contributing to income generation for improving rural households.

Objectives of the Conference
The objectives of the conference are to:

  • facilitate the timely dissemination of information on biofuels in the form of the latest case studies;
  • discuss the pros and cons of biofuels, and lay the foundation for sustainable biofuels production;
  • disseminate and discuss information on funding opportunities in the biofuels sector;
  • develop strategies and an action plan for the development of business opportunities in the biofuels sector; and
  • identify projects that can be developed and submitted to potential sponsors for funding.

Expected Outputs and Outcomes
In keeping with our results-based and impact-oriented approach to this conference, we are adamant that the conference should directly produce tangible shorter-term outputs and, indirectly long-term positive outcomes which can not only enhance the energy security of African countries, but also make a real difference to the plight of the rural poor in Africa. More specifically, and to achieve long-term impact, we intend to identify regional bankable projects that can be formulated into proposals and submitted to donors and development agencies for funding consideration. Our focus will be on identifying and developing initiatives that can make a real difference to not only the energy situation in African countries, but, more importantly, impact positively on the lives of millions of Africans that are still trapped in poverty.

Conferences, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), Southern African Biofuels Association (SABA), Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP)

Woodend (
Nigel Yeates (

Further information

27 August 2007
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