Interesting quotations from an UNCTAD workshop in Accra, Ghana:
In 2003, the EU established new targets on biofuels in the transport sector of 2% by 2005 and 5.75% by 2010. In 2008, the EU presented a new directive with an obligatory target of 10% biofuels in the transport sector by 2020 for each European country. There are international consequences of these decisions. While domestically, Europe could produce approximately enough biofuels to meet a 5% blending target, it will need to import biofuels from the Global South in order to reach the 10% target. Some of the challenges associated with this include: competition between countries in the South to have a better position in the world market for export, competition between small and large producers, and competition for resource use between food and fuel.
In many countries, foreign companies are coming into Africa to clear forests or take over crop-producing land for biodiesel production. Notably, more and more Asian companies (from India, China, Malaysia and Japan) are investing in this area. Africa is considered a good environment for biofuels production because of available land space, favorable climate and ―cheap‖ labor. Moreover, African governments have been providing foreign companies incentives to invest in the region.
Biofuels could help to provide energy for rural Africa, but it will require significant investment and careful planning.