A new energy for the Africa of today and tomorrow

The energy transition on the African continent depends on biofuels, agreements on new energy sources and alternative forms of production.

New forms of energy and new economies

One of the main challenges for the energy sector in the transition process to a low-carbon future is to ensure access to energy for all in an efficient and sustainable way. According to International Energy Agency (IEA) projections, in the coming years energy demand will continue to grow, particularly in emerging markets and developing economies due to the convergence of several factors, including population increase, increased urbanisation and infrastructure development. The looming threat of climate change and the commitments made by national governments in the Paris Agreement require a strong push forward in the reconversion of industrial processes in specific sectors, such as transport and agriculture, promoting new technologies capable of generating clean energy and creating new job opportunities

With this in mind, at the beginning of 2021, we launched a series of joint initiatives in various countries on the African continent to develop the supply chain for high-quality biofuels based on new circular economy models. These biofuels are produced from raw materials that are not in direct competition with food and fodder crops, such as agricultural waste and residue and non-food crops (e.g. miscanthus and short rotation coppice).

The aim is to provide raw material for the Eni bio-refining system in Italy and for the conversion of refineries in Africa, through the creation of agrihubs for the local cultivation of feedstock that does not compete with the food chain, for example castor, and the processing of agricultural residue, such as that deriving from cotton, to replace palm oil in feeding bio-refineries. Kenya is now the lead country in achieving the identified goals: thanks to the advanced development of its agricultural sector and the collection and refining of used cooking oil, it will be able to revolutionise its energy industry, making it efficient and sustainable. 

Eni and IRENA for decarbonization in Africa

The recent agreements signed with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) feature among the various initiatives aimed at promoting the inclusion of renewable energy in the decarbonization pathways of the international agency's member states. The agreement in question provides for the integration of the African continent into the biofuel value chain, including through institutional capacity building, agribusiness and industrial development initiatives for the production of biofuels that will promote decarbonization of the transport sector.

Our commitment is also based on promoting the integration of the African continent into the biofuel value chain through agribusiness and industrial development initiatives, supporting the decarbonization of the transport sector and promoting development opportunities.

Claudio Descalzi, Chief Executive Officer of Eni

The way forward for Kenya

Located on the East coast of Africa, Kenya is one of the most advanced countries in Africa when it comes to its commitment to combatting the effects of climate change. It is a signatory to the Paris Agreement on climate change and intends to reduce its emissions 32% by 2030, while also creating “a globally competitive and prosperous country with a high quality of life," according to its Vision 2030 plan. In December 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta met with our CEO Claudio Descalzi to discuss how we could contribute to the achievement of the country's environmental commitments, provide local communities with efficient and sustainable access to energy resources, while also reducing its reliance on fossil fuels, which Kenya imports. The meeting led to the government setting up a team ready to work with Eni on every aspect of this strong social impact project. In Kenya we are currently working on converting the Mombasa refinery into a bio-refinery, developing the first plant in Africa capable of producing biofuels. In its initial phase, the Mombasa bio-refinery will produce around 250,000 tonnes of biofuel per year from vegetable oil and used cooking oil. The conversion of the refinery will reduce the commissioning time, as well as the costs associated with new construction, employing around 400 people.

Our initiatives on the African continent

Biofuels play a central role in Eni's commitment to achieving the complete decarbonization of its products and processes by 2050. Thanks to Eni's experience, technology and know-how, it will be possible to launch a series of joint initiatives to develop the biofuels supply chain in various countries on the African continent. Our CEO Claudio Descalzi recently went to Côte d'Ivoire, Angola, the Republic of Congo and Benin to meet the heads of state of each country, making it possible to chart the course for the growth and development of the agro-fuel sector in what are considered developing countries. A further step towards the process of transforming energy resources into possible partnerships that facilitate the energy transition and the development of a real circular economy on the African continent.


Some of the key aspects of Eni's work in the country include, in addition to the major conversion of the Mombasa bio-refinery: the development of Kenya's agriculture sector to supply the bio-refinery the collection and refining of used cooking oil; the development of a bioethanol plant and the advancement of international partnerships. In Kenya, we are working to assess the untapped potential of bio-refineries, always with a view to sustainability that does not compete with the country's food chain. It is essential to ensure that food security is respected throughout the process. We aim to promote and safeguard the work of some 54 million inhabitants, who are engaged in agricultural work on a daily basis and who, through a network of hubs, would collect biomass to feed the bio-refineries. The main aim of the project is to increase awareness of the benefits of collecting UCO from both an environmental and a health perspective.

Côte d'Ivoire

The goal of making Côte d'Ivoire's energy completely carbon neutral is one of the main aims of Eni’s work in the country, achievable through the use of its knowledge and technology. During the meeting with President Ouattara, discussions were focussed on how to achieve carbon neutrality through the use of renewable energy sources and other initiatives related to decarbonization, such as forestry-related projects and the UN REDD+ programmes. Projects capable of strengthening the country's energy security while protecting primary forests and local biodiversity.


In Benin, thanks to the meeting with President Patrice Talon, a number of growth projects are being developed for the agro-industrial supply chain. The valorisation of agricultural waste and the production of oilseeds that do not compete with the food chain are the main areas we are working on. We are in the process of defining the role that the country could play due to its high levels of cotton cultivation. Benin is a leader in West Africa in the production of this type of fibre, the by-products of which can be used as feedstock for bio-refineries, promoting a virtuous example of circular economy.


In Congo, thanks to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding the development of the agro-fuel sector in the country is planned. The MoU in question aims to boost the production of castor oil on an industrial scale. The agreement will provide raw material for Eni's bio-refining systems and job opportunities for local people. After the initial phase, a pilot project to sow castor beans on more than 200 hectares of land, a second phase of industrial development will begin, involving the cultivation of 150,000 hectares with an estimated 90,000 beneficiaries by 2030. Also in Congo, agricultural and gas exploitation projects were discussed in October 2021, including access to energy for the internal market. Indeed, Eni is the only company currently involved in development activities, supplying gas to the Congo Electric Power Station (CEC), which provides 70% of the country's electricity production.quale garantisce il 70% della produzione di energia elettrica del Paese.


In Angola we are working to find new areas for cooperation with the country. Through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, development opportunities in the waste collection sector were assessed. The aim is to valorise the organic fraction as much as possible. The relationship between Eni and the local government will enable Angola to increase its LNG production and the availability of domestic gas for the country's industrial development. Other initiatives focus on the role of renewables, agricultural development, access to water, energy, education and healthcare. Not forgetting initiatives on land mine clearance, access to land, diversity and inclusion.

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