Biofuel industry study, Tanzania - An assessment of the current situation

Mar 2009

The biofuel industry in Tanzania is still in a nascent stage, with various companies, both Tanzanian and international, active at various stages. Tanzania has been inundated by foreign investors since 2006, most from the EU but also the United States and Asia. Most projects are still in the project planning stage and going through the land acquisition process. This has taken over two years for many of the companies.
In order to set biofuel policy guidelines, the Tanzanian government set up a National Biofuels Task Force (NBTF). This involves at least eight different government ministries and is spearheaded by the Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM). Draft guidelines were brought out in September 2008.
Biofuels have become a highly controversial topic and many Tanzanians are worried about the amount of land being given away to foreign investors. At the same time the government is seeking to attract more foreign investors to the country.
A WWF biofuel stakeholder‘s workshop was carried out in Morogoro in June 2008, at which a list of principles were put forward for a framework for how socially and environmentally responsible biofuel investments should be carried out in Tanzania.
Government ministries, NGOs and other concerned parties attended the workshop. In addition, WWF also developed guidelines and criteria for biofuels investment in Tanzania. This information is now available for use and contributes suggestions on the guidelines and provides criteria that can improve the industry.
The overall aim of this study is to highlight, with concrete examples, the challenges involved as large scale biofuel investments are carried out in Tanzania. Following a previous WWF study into biofuels, this study aims to look at some of the major issues involved with biofuels in Tanzania and assess how investors can develop their businesses successfully whilst simultaneously mitigating negative environmental impacts and maximising gains for rural development. The limitations of the study should be pointed out as it was carried out over a month and a half. More detailed assessments are now needed and it is hope that this study will provide a basis for this much needed research.
The aims of this consultancy were to:
• Assess the current status of all biofuels investments in Tanzania
• Make a detailed assessment of the major investors
• Produce a report outlining the consultancy findings

By: WWF – Tanzania Programme Office

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