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World Bank Failing Developing Countries: Lack of support for biolfuels called short-sighted

Mon Jun 29 20:14:00 MST 2009

June 30, 2009 – Toronto – The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) representing over 65% of the world’s biofuels production from 44 countries issued a failing grade to the World Bank today for its lack of support for biofuels projects in developing countries.

The GRFA continues to call on the World Bank to support the development of a biofuels industry in regions that are in dire need of relief from a crippling reliance on oil imports. Despite pleas from the GRFA and several African projects, the Bank remains on the sidelines when it comes to investing in sustainable biofuels projects.

”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, “ claimed GRFA spokesperson, Bliss Baker.

“Despite the tremendous opportunity in many developing nations to produce their own fuel and attract valuable investment in agriculture, the World Bank continues to have a “non-policy” when it comes to supporting biofuels projects,” added Mr. Baker.

It is estimated that by 2050, biomass theoretically could supply 65% 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 scarce capital particularly in developing countries has stalled most projects despite the overwhelming potential.

“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,” said Andrew Makenete, President of the Southern African Biofuels Association. ”We know that with the right support we can replicate this remarkable accomplishment here in Africa.”

“Reducing our devastating reliance on imported oil must be a priority for all African nations,” said Makenete. “Building a sustainable biofuels industry would be a significant step in the right direction.”

The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting biofuels friendly policies internationally. Alliance members represent over 65% of the global biofuels production from 43 countries. Through the development of new technologies and best practices, the Alliance members are committed to producing renewable fuels with the smallest possible footprint.

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