Zambia has since 2006 been working on developing biofuels industry in the country. In 2008, the Zambia Government revised the 1994 National Energy Policy to include biofuels and other emerging issues like gender and environment in 2008. The Statutory Instrument No. 42 was issued to include biofuels as part of fuels energy mix in Zambia in the Energy Regulation Act, thus giving the Energy Regulation Board the mandate to regulate biofuels. The available standards for biofuels are ZS 702 for Biodiesel and ZS 706 for Bioethanol. Furthermore, standards have also been developed for lower blends of E10, E20 and E85. The Energy Regulation Board has also developed the draft Regulatory Framework which is yet to be finalised. The framework for national price for biofuels has been developed, and is now being revised to suit current conditions. In 2017, the Energy Regulation Board issued the first licence to produce energy ethanol in Zambia.
Although Zambia has done relatively commendable work to create an environment for biofuels production, the gestation period from policy revision to commencement of production has taken too long; 12 years to date. Nonetheless, biofuels industry is among the key energy sub-sectors targeted by Government in the 7th National Development Plan currently running. The Biofuels Association of Zambia hopes that Government can soon put in necessary measures to incentivise industry to commence investment. The first licence issued by the Energy Regulation Board in 2017 is a strong indicator that Government is serious about ensuring that this industry takes off. It is hoped that the pricing framework that Government is revising can be completed soon as it is an important factor for industry to determine viability of investments in the sub-sector.
Delegates will be made aware of the opportunities that exist for biofuels in the country, including potential land resources available for the production of wide-ranging feedstocks in Zambia, a tropical country.
At ZIMEC, I look forward to interacting with various players that may help boost biofuels prospects in Zambia. Funds friendly to biofuels industry, for example, are key for a successful take-off of the industry. To date, a number of members of the Biofuels Association of Zambia have been assisted with services and equipment at no-cost loan by Musika Development Initiative (MDI). MDI is a Zambian donor-supported organization that provides commercially focused technical advice and catalytic subsidy to buy down the initial risks in investing in the smallholder market. I hope that I can, during the conference, network with organizations providing similar services to support the industry.