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Zimbabwe's Biodiesel Industry in Trouble

Biofuels have been heavily promoted in the hydrocarbon-poor third world as both a fuel source and a valuable earner of foreign currency.

Now however, The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is seeking to sell is 50 percent holding of Transload (Pvt) Limited, a biodiesel fuel manufacturing joint venture between Zimbabwe and South Korea’s Yuon Woo Investments.

In 2007 Transload (Pvt) Limited was established with massive publicity heralding the project as both a partial solution to the country’s chronic energy shortages as well as a valuable potential foreign revenue source, the Standard reported.

Given the plant’s intermittent operations many investment and economic analysts passed harsh judgment on the joint venture, with one commenting that no local investor would want to put money in such "a white elephant."

Labor and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe economist Nyasha Muchichwa starkly commented, "Chances are very minimal that anyone would put money into such a project considering our economic and political circumstances."

Complicating the plant’s operations, first of its kind in Africa, has been its inability to secure consistent feedstocks of jatropha seed and soya beans.

By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com



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