So begins BioPact Blog editor Laurens Rademakers breathless report from Reuters about the development of a bioenergy coalition in Africa:
This is a special day. What we have been predicting and pushing for all along has finally materialised: African nations have formed what we called a "Green OPEC" - an organization of biofuels producing and exporting countries. Our first goal has thus been achieved, and we are now pushing for the finalization of our "BioPact": linking this "Green OPEC" to our EU policies on North-South development.
Africa looks to shrubs and sugar to beat oil price
Some of Africa's poorest nations are clubbing together to try to position themselves as global suppliers of biofuel, hoping to use everything from shrubs to sugar to offset the economic impact of rising crude prices. Inspired by Brazil, where three quarters of new cars run on a mix of biofuel and gasoline, 13 nations met in Senegal on Thursday to form the Pan-African Non-Petroleum Producers Association (PANPP), aimed at developing alternative energy sources, especially biofuels.
"Our continent should have as its vocation to become the primary world supplier of biofuels," Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade told delegates meeting in the capital, Dakar. "This step to develop clean energy is all the more pertinent because it calls for immense areas of cultivable land, where Africa benefits from a clear advantage," he said.
Investment in biofuels, including ethanol derived from sugar cane and biodiesel from oils, is booming on the back of high oil prices, energy security fears, limited spare refinery capacity and concerns about greenhouse gas emissions. Africa produces a range of crops that could be used to make biofuel, including sugar cane, sugar beet, maize, sorghum and cassava -- all of which can be used to make ethanol -- and peanuts, jatropha and palm oil, whose oil can be used to power diesel engines.
technorati Biopact, bioenergy, Africa, investment, ethanol, Europe, greenhouse gases, biofuels