Sugar industry in sub-Saharan Africa diversifying into fuel and electric power
THERE are many underlying reasons why the sugar industry in sub-Saharan Africa is diversifying into fuel and electrical power. Fuel from sugar cane is generated through the production of bio-ethanol, while power generation emanates from burning sugar cane residues, otherwise called bagasse.
There are a number of such projects underway in countries such as Sierra Leone, Angola, Mali, Malawi and Tanzania. In Angola, the sugar and bio-ethanol project is a joint venture between a state-owned company called Sonangol, Damer and a Brazilian firm called Odebrecht. The project aims to cover a land size of 4000ha under sugar cane cultivation initially. And the expected project capacity will translate to 30 million litres of ethanol, 250 metric tonnes of sugar, and an estimated 160 000 megawatt hours. The total initial investment for the project is estimated at USD250 million.
In Sierra Leone, a similar project, which is called Makeni Ethanol and Power project, is being initiated by Addax and Oryx Group. The project will have 10 000ha of land irrigated and mechanised. It is expected to produce a million tonnes of sugar cane per annum, 93 000 MT of ethanol and generate power of 15MW for the national grid. The project will be funded by entities such as Industrial Development Corporation, the African Development Fund, Swedfund and Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, while the Angolan project financing will be sourced initially from the Angola Forment Bank and Bank Espirito Santo, including the Brazilian’s state development bank (BNDES).