Gabonese Investment Promotion Minister, Jean Fidele Otandault has revealed that China would build a factory to produce bioethanol, a biofuel that can be used in some gasoline engines.
The $620-million project is expected to produce 300,000 tonnes of bioethanol from 900,000 tonnes of dried cassava, the minister said after his meeting with Chinese investors on Monday in Libreville, the nation’s capital.
The production of this biofuel will require, in particular, nearly 83,000 hectares of land and production of 12 tonnes of cassava per hectare.
In addition, local cooperatives will be actively involved in the implementation of this large-scale project, which “responds to the Head of State’s desire to attract more foreign direct investment (FDIs), create jobs and fight against rural exodus,” Jean Fidele Otandault added.
“To meet these development requirements, the role of the Investment Promotion Department is to facilitate the involvement of partners, by improving, among others, the legal framework of the business environment, negotiating facilities, such as exemptions,” he explained.
Despite the authorities’ willingness to engage in biofuel, Gabon remains an oil country whose production has stagnated at 12,000 tons per year since the mid-2000s.