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Are Biofuels Good for African Development? An Analytical Framework with Evidence from Mozambique and Tanzania

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  • Arndt, Channing
  • Msangi, Siwa
  • Thurlow, James

Abstract

Many low income countries in Africa are optimistic that producing biofuels domestically will not only reduce their dependence on imported fossil fuels, but also stimulate economic development, particularly in poorer rural areas. Skeptics, on the other hand, view biofuels as a threat to food security in the region and as a landgrabbing opportunity for foreign investors. As a result of this ongoing debate, national biofuels task forces have been asked to evaluate both the viability of domestic biofuels production and its broader implications for economic development. To guide these complex evaluations, this paper presents an analytical framework that prioritizes different aspects of a comprehensive national assessment and identifies suitable evaluation methods. The findings from recent assessments for Mozambique and Tanzania are used to illustrate the framework. While these two country studies found that biofuels investments could enhance development, their experiences highlight potential tradeoffs, especially at the macroeconomic and environmental levels, where further research is needed.

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File URL: http://www.wider.unu.edu/stc/repec/pdfs/wp2010/wp2010-110.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) in its series Working Paper Series with number wp2010-110.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2010-110

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Keywords: biofuels; economic development; food security; poverty; Africa;

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References

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  1. Channing Arndt & Rui Benfica & Nelson Maximiano & Antonio M. D. Nucifora & James T. Thurlow, 2008. "Higher fuel and food prices: impacts and responses for Mozambique," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 39(s1), pages 497-511, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Negash, Martha, 2012. "Biofuels and Food Security: Micro-evidence from Ethiopia," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126793, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  2. Arndt, Channing & Benfica, Rui & Thurlow, James, 2011. "Gender Implications of Biofuels Expansion in Africa: The Case of Mozambique," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 1649-1662, September.
  3. Ferede, Tadele & Gebreegziabher, Zenebe & Mekonnen, Alemu & Guta, Fantu & Levin, Jörgen & Köhlin, Gunnar, 2013. "Biofuels, Economic Growth, and the External Sector in Ethiopia: A Computable General Equilibrium Analysis," Discussion Papers dp-13-08-efd, Resources For the Future.

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