Cablegate: Rwanda Approves Biofuels Project

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P 090622Z NOV 09



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) The Government of Rwanda (GOR) on October 28 approved
a U.S.private sector-sponsored $40 million biofuels project
in eastern Rwanda. American-owned Eco-Fuel Global and
British-owned Eco-Fuel Positive will jointly develop 10,000
hectares of marginal land for production of jatropha and
build vegetable oil extraction facilities to process jatropha
oil and jatropha seed cake (used as fertilizer). Eco-Fuel
Global estimates the project will produce between 4-5 million
gallons of bio-fuel annually (after eight years, when the
jatropha trees reach full maturity), about 10 percent of
Rwanda's current diesel consumption.

2. (U) Minister of State for Energy Albert Butare told the
press October 30, the "project is in line with the country's
plan to move towards a greener economy and reduce carbon
emissions." The land allocated to the project, while poor
farmland, is suitable for jatropha production, he added. The
proposed jatropha cultivation is labor intensive and,
according to the developers, will provide sustained
employment for 6,500 laborers over the 30-year life of the

3. (U) The project business plan proposes $35-$50 million in
foreign direct investment during the first five years of the
project and up to $250 million of capital and operational
investment over the life of the project. According to
Eco-Fuel Global's website, jatropha is drought resistant and
has an oil content of 30-40 percent. The website notes that
in 2008, jatropha was used in a 50/50 blend with standard jet
fuel to power a two-hour flight in New Zealand. A by-product
of jatropha, jatropha cake, is used as fertilizer.


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