1. Introduction

The African Forest Forum (AFF) is a pan-African non-governmental organization with its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. It is an association of individuals who share the quest for and commitment to the sustainable management, use and conservation of the forest and tree resources of Africa for the socio-economic wellbeing of its people and for the stability and improvement of its environment. The purpose of AFF is to provide a platform and create an enabling environment for independent and objective analysis, advocacy and advice on relevant policy and technical issues pertaining to achieving sustainable management, use and conservation of Africa’s forest and tree resources as part of efforts to reduce poverty, promote gender equality, and economic and social development.

AFF has secured funding from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) to implement a project entitled “Strengthening management and use of forest ecosystems for sustainable development in Africa”. The overall goal of the project is “to generate and share knowledge and information through partnerships in ways that provide inputs into policy and decision-making options and capacity building, for improved forest management that better address poverty eradication and environmental protection in Africa”. One of the key project objectives is to examine the potential for production and use of liquid biofuels in Africa as a means towards developing green and circular national economies.

1.1 Background

Biofuel production in Africa is being promoted because of its potential for land restoration and environmental benefits, such as reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions associated with decreased use of fossil fuels. This has continued to attract significant attention on cultivation and production of biofuel crops across the continent. For example, in recent years, considerable efforts have been directed towards investments in green energy for safe environment and reducing vulnerability of people and other sectors of economic development to the impacts of climate change.  Some of the commonly grown biofuel feedstocks include, but not limited, to Jatropha, sugar cane, cassava, sweet sorghum, maize, potatoes, macadamia, palm oil, soya bean, and sunflower, among others. These biofuel feedstocks can grow under a wide range of altitude, temperature and rainfall conditions. Several studies have indicated the existence of enough arable land for both food and bio-energy feedstock cultivation for national and export markets in the African region. For instance, it is reported that Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia have allocated 10% of their cropland to energy crops in order to cover their energy needs.

However, investment in biofuel production requires a balance between food production, forest production and conservation because Africa is also striving in addressing food security for its burgeoning population while at the same time sustaining ecosystems services from its forests’ landscape. This therefore requires targeted policy and strategy frameworks to guide responsible bio-fuel investments in the continent.  In this regard, the project seeks to cultivate a better understanding of the scale of production of liquid biofuels, existing and likely future opportunities or prospects, in addition to challenges in production and use of biofuels in Sub-Saharan Africa. The studies are expected to generate information that could facilitate planning the growth and development of this sector in ways that generate incomes to local people and nations, without compromising food and environmental security.

1.2 Rationale and purpose of the work

For its plan of work for 2019-2020, AFF plans to undertake a study on several aspects related to liquid biofuels in selected southern African countries. For this, AFF is recruiting a sub-regional expert to undertake the study Southern Africa.

  1. Purpose of the Work

To assess African countries’ potential for production and use of liquid biofuels in as a means towards developing green and circular national economies.

 Specific tasks

  • Assess trends on:
  1. the status of biofuel production at regional level
  2. land allocated for production of liquid biofuels;
  3. availability of feedstock for different biofuel production;
  4. use of agricultural crops for liquid biofuel production in specific areas in the selected countries;
  5. production, processing and consumption of biofuels and
  6. GHG emissions associated with biofuel production and use in selected countries


  • Evaluate opportunities, challenges and prospects in production and use of biofuels, as well as coping mechanisms for addressing the challenges.
  • Assess the effect of liquid biofuel production on cropland in forest margins and the implications on food security and primary forest cover loss (deforestation and forest degradation);
  • Assess the competitiveness of African biofuels in the international market;
  • Identify policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks relevant to the sustainable production, processing, transport and consumption of liquid biofuels in the context of changing climate.

 2.1 Deliverables

The experts will be expected to deliver the following outputs:

  • A report of at least 40-pages on the task;
  • At least one journal article to be published together with staff at Secretariat who will get involved in this work;
  • Draft a policy brief, and a fact sheet to be finalised together with the staff at Secretariat who will get involved in this work.

3. Minimum qualifications and skills

  • Have at least a master’s degree in forestry or natural resource management, with experience in climate change and biofuels aspects; a PhD will be an advantage.
  • Have at least five years’ regional working experience in sustainable forest management in Africa;
  • Have written at least a book chapter, and or published peer reviewed journal papers on climate change and/or biofuel; and
  • Excellent writing and oral communication skills in English or French.
  1. Duration of assignment

The tasks in this ToR are for two person‐months, commencing on 24 February 2020 and spread over a period of three months. The experts shall work from their locations but be in close consultation with relevant staff at the AFF Secretariat while keeping to an agreed delivery schedule.

  1. How to apply

Please email your application to AFF, quoting the title and number of this consultancy on the subject line, and attaching a proposal containing:

  • Cover letter stating how you meet the above qualifications and experience requirements;
  • Key results areas, corresponding specific activities and methodology for executing them;
  • A data matrix listing information needs plotted against data sources;
  • A draft work plan (clear deliverables plotted against work weeks for each key result);
  • A tentative table of contents with corresponding number of pages; and
  • An updated CV .

Please apply, with the subject line: “CONSULTANCY No: …………. AFF – THE POTENTIAL OF AFRICAN COUNTRIES FOR THE PRODUCTION AND USE OF LIQUID BIOFUELS AS A STRATEGY FOR DEVELOPING GREEN AND CIRCULAR ECONOMIES IN SOUTHERN AFRICA” and indicating for which region you are applying for, to Dr Doris Mutta at d.mutta@cgiar.org and Dr Henri-Noël Bouda at h.bouda@cgiar.org, with a copy to exec.sec@afforum.org

Application deadline is 14 February 2020. Only successful applicants will be contacted.