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Cooperation with Africa in Bioenergy

Daniel BuenoOn August 26, 2014, FAPESP signed a cooperation agreement with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), an agency of the African Union created to implement socioeconomic development projects that represents the 54 countries on that continent. The agreement calls for collaboration among researchers associated with research institutions in the state of São Paulo and in Africa. Projects will address sustainable production of bioenergy. The document was signed by Mossad Elmissy, director of the Energy Division of NEPAD, Celso Lafer, president of FAPESP, and Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, scientific director of the Foundation. “This agreement is very interesting to FAPESP because it launches a process of original cooperation with political and geographical aspects that enables us to think globally, rather than just in terms of economic sectors,” Lafer said. The agreement, which grew out of interest expressed by FAPESP, was drafted by researchers affiliated with the University of Stellenbosch, in South Africa—an institution that has been cooperating with FAPESP since 2013—and the Global Sustainable Bioenergy (GSB) program, an initiative supported by the Foundation; by the Oak Ridge National Lab in the United States; and by the public/private Dutch consortium Be-Basic. “We are ready to start working,” said Brito Cruz. “FAPESP supports the effort known as the Bioenergy Contribution of Latin America & the Caribbean and Africa to the GSB Project (LACAf-Cane-I), which is ready to begin suggesting research opportunities for joint projects,” he says. The objective of the project is to investigate the possibilities for sustainable production of bioenergy in Mozambique, South Africa, Colombia, and Guatemala. “We are aware of the expertise and capacity for developing the ethanol industry in Brazil. Africa has resources for bioenergy production and our cooperation will permit extension of that knowledge to the African countries while at the same time providing Brazilian researchers with access to the African market,” Elmissy said.