Africa is an ideal environment for the growth of a number of feedstock like Jatropha. However, the continent also lacks the type of strong central government structure that is required to fund the massive undertaking of developing a biofuel industry. As a result, only a handful of countries on the continent have deployed successful biofuel programs. Other countries have suffered from foreign land grabs and speculation that have damaged local economies. In this article, we will focus on the countries and policies that have been successful.

South Africa

The South African policy is drive by the countries needs to address issues of poverty, rural development, and black economic empowerment. As such , the approach to biofuels focuses more on their economic impact in less-affluent regions of the country rather than on fuel blending targets.

  1. Industrial Develop Corporation and Central Energy Fund
    1. Government owned entities with 390 million U.S. dollars in funding
    2. Goal of 2% biofuel penetration by 2012
    3. B2 biodiesel and E8 bioethanol targets for 2013
  2. Biofuels Research Program
    1. 240 million U.S. dollars in funding
    2. Develop new technology and adapt existing technology to work in South African conditions
      1. Process development for biodiesel from waste vegetable oil
      2. Second gen technology for fermentation of sweet sorghum, wheat, and sugar beet
      3. Integration of biofuel and chemical production
      4. Use of hydrogen and methanol to produce biodiesel, ethanol, and bio-oil
Unfortunately, South Africa is one of the few countries to have taken a compassionate approach to the development of biofuel. Other countries have seen massive levels of indebtedness to multinational companies, eviction of small-scale farmers, destruction of rain forest, displacement of subsistence farmers, and more. The state of biofuels in Africa will remain tenuous as long as policy favours the few at higher levels and exploits the lower class. This is the same story that has been told time and time again in Africa with the emergence of any new commodity like oil, diamonds, gold, and now biofuel feedstock.