SUSTAINABLE BIOFUELS IN CAMEROON: THE INFLUENCE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION RENEWABLE ENERGY DIRECTIVE (EU-RED) ON THE PRODUCTION AND USE OF BIOFUELS IN CAMEROON.
Abstract: There are a lot of debates surrounding the sustainability of liquid biofuel as a means of mitigating some global challenges like climate change and energy insecurity. The European Union (EU) for example has set up renewable energy targets and sustainability criteria. Biofuel is expected to contribute significantly to meet up with these targets. Much of these targets will be met by importing liquid biofuel from developing countries. In Africa, Cameroon is selected as an empirical case to study the biofuel developments, the actors in these developments, the factors driving such developments, and the influence of the EU-RED in the production and use of liquid biofuels in Cameroon. The study is a qualitative research with a case study design. Data collection was through semi-structured, one-on-one interviews with some government administrative officials of the Cameroon's Ministry of Energy and Water (MINEE) and some biofuel/feedstock economic operators in Cameroon. This was supplemented with review of relevant literature. The data is analyzed through thematic analysis and the lens of political ecology that mirrors out the diverse perspectives. The findings demonstrate that liquid biofuel actors in Cameroon are the Cameroon government, some economic operators and NGO’s. The factors driving biofuel developments in Cameroon is the desire to use energy crops for a dual purpose of fighting desertification and to put energy crops into economic use. Energy diversification, stimulating rural development, to meet the political ambitions of the state, external influences and economic factors are all driving the biofuel sector in Cameroon. The EU-RED influences the Cameroon’s biofuel sector through indirect means; like the application of EU-RED ideas as a guide or reference in drafting a legal framework for the biofuel sector in Cameroon, through trade, certification schemes, sustainability awareness and huge land acquisition. In effect, this will enhance our understanding on the biofuel developments in Cameroon, add knowledge to the debates on the sustainability of biofuel and also provide empirical knowledge and pragmatic evidence to the EU-RED.
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