The World Bank received a failing grade this week for its lack of support to developing countries trying to implement biofuels project. The “F” comes from the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) representing over 65 percent of the world’s biofuels production from 44 countries.
In a letter to Robert Zoellick, President of World Bank, from Bliss Baker, President of the GRFA, Baker wrote, “I am writing to you to express our deepest concern that the World Bank is failing developing countries in their desire to develop sustainable biofuels industries and relieve their crippling reliance on imported crude oil. Your Bank remains on the sidelines without any commitment to investing in biofuels projects while many developing countries look for scarce capital to build local projects.”
The GRFA continues to call on the World Bank to support the development of biofuels in regions that are in desperate need of relief from their dependence on foreign oil. However, despite pleas from various organizations, the World Bank remains indifferent.
Baker noted that, ”Thirty-eight of the forty-five poorest countries on earth are net importers of crude oil yet many of these underdeveloped countries possess vast amounts of biomass and potential for sustainable biofuels production.”
It is estimated that by 2050, biomass theoretically could supply 65 percent of the world’s current energy consumption, with sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America accounting for roughly half of this global potential. Several potential projects have emerged in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Sudan and South Africa looking to attract investment; however, access to investment funds have been scarce.
Andrew Makenete, President of the Southern African Biofuels Association commented, “We see what many western countries have been able to accomplish in terms of energy security and attracting investment into the agricultural sector by building vibrant biofuels industries. We know that with the right support we can replicate this remarkable accomplishment here in Africa.”