Institute for Policy Research Policy Brief: Biofuels, development and sustainability in sub-Saharan Africa

R Maconachie, Elizabeth Fortin

Research output: Other contribution

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In sub-Saharan Africa, biofuels have been hailed as a new form of green capitalism. But are they really able to deliver ‘win-win’ outcomes for communities, governments and companies, mitigate climate change and promote ‘pro poor’ development? At a time of global recession and soaring food prices, the large scale diversion of land from the production of food crops to the production of ‘feedstocks’ for biofuels processors has placed the industries’ ‘sustainability’ at the centre of controversy.
Qualitative research carried out by Dr Roy Maconachie (University of Bath) and Dr Elizabeth Fortin (University of Bristol) explores corporate strategies to promote biofuel sustainability. It focuses on Sierra Leone, and considers the importance of global, national and local agendas in the development of its emerging biofuel sector.
EU policies sustaining markets for alternative fuels have promoted the production of biofuels in Africa. Such production is further buttressed by views that poverty in developing countries will be best alleviated by the provision of emloyment opportunities in rural areas. The research considers how
these agendas, rather than local concerns, have influenced national environment-development policies and corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies. Finally, it looks at the implications of biofuels production for local sustainability. The research informs key policy debates relating to: a) CSR and community development; and b) land investment and ‘green’ development in sub-Saharan Africa.
Original languageEnglish
TypePolicy Brief
PublisherInstitute for Policy Research, University of Bath
Number of pages4
Place of PublicationBath
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013

Bibliographical note

For the full article that this policy brief is based upon, please see:
Maconachie, R. & Fortin, E. (2013) ‘New agriculture’
for sustainable development? Biofuels and agrarian
change in post-war Sierra Leone, Journal of Modern
African Studies, 51(2), 249-277


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