Book Chapter

Biofuel Policies in South Africa: A Critical Analysis

“In 2007 the South African government
released the country’s National Biofuels
Industrial Strategy targeting a biofuels
market penetration of 2% of liquid road
transport fuels by 2013. Contrary to the
international situation, the main driver
for the development of a biofuels industry
in South Africa is neither the economic
threat of increasing oil prices nor mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, but
the need to create a link between the
country’s first and second economies.
Specifically, the government hopes to stimulate economic development and to alleviate poverty through the promotion of
farming in areas previously neglected by
the apartheid system. Before the release
of this strategy, commercial sugar producers
and maize farmers represented the majority
of the parties looking to drive the South
African biofuels industry. But, two years
after its release none of the ventures by
these stakeholders have been able to take
off, mainly due to the Strategy’s restrictions on the type and source of feedstock as well as on the type of farmers
whose participation in the industry would
be subsidised. This chapter presents a
critical scientific-based analysis of the
implications and results of South Africa’s
National Biofuels Industrial Strategy. Firstly an update is presented on the state
of the biofuels industry in the country, highlighting the current production statistics and the major investment activities, and how these were affected by
the release of the Strategy. Then the ambiguities in the Strategy are outlined and
critically analysed with reference to the current state of the biofuels industry in
the country. The chapter then concludes with the lessons to be learnt from the South African experience by those African countries which are yet to develop their respective biofuel policies.”