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Biofuels in Africa: growing small-scale opportunities

Global demand for climate-friendly transport fuels is driving vast commercial biofuels projects in developing countries. At the opposite end of the spectrum is small-scale bioenergy production. This offers a way for the poor to meet their energy needs and diversify their livelihoods without compromising food security or environmental integrity. Governments hope that it will be possible to combine the advantages of both large- and small-scale production of biofuels to generate energy security and GDP at the national level, while opening up local opportunities. In Africa, most governments are keen to attract foreign direct investment, and see big business as a strategic means of scaling up rural development. But there is a middle way. By encouraging business models that bridge large and small enterprise, African governments could show that commercial competition can go hand in hand with a range of real local benefits.

Key Words: business models for sustainable development

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