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  • Eni S.p.A.

International Finance Corp., Italian Climate Fund partner with Eni to support biofuel production, farmers in Kenya

Eni completed construction of its first oilseed collection and pressing plant, known as an “agri-hub,” in Makueni, Kenya, in 2022. (Photo: Eni S.p.A.)

The International Finance Corp. and the Italian Climate Fund announced May 17 a $210 million investment in Eni S.p.A.’s Kenya subsidiary to expand the production and processing of advanced biofuels, supporting the decarbonization of the global transport industry and the livelihoods of up to 200,000 small-scale Kenyan oilseed farmers.


The investment consists of $135 million from IFC and $75 million mobilized from the Italian Climate Fund, as part of the implementation of the Italian government’s Mattei Plan in Kenya.


It will help Eni increase both the production of advanced-biofuel feedstock grown in Kenya and processing capacity through the construction of new processing plants.


Production of oilseeds, which are the primary feedstock, is expected to increase from 44,000 tons to 500,000 tons per year.


The project will also work with farmers, providing inputs, mechanization, logistics, certification and training to help them produce oilseeds, which are grown on degraded land not suitable for food production and/or grown in rotation with food crops, helping enhance soil fertility.


The agreement was announced at the 2024 Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, Rwanda.


“This project marks the dawn of a new industry for Kenya, an industry where Kenya could become a world leader,” said Makhtar Diop, IFC’s managing director. “Producing biofuels will not only help decarbonize our transportation system, it will also generate income for farmers and create jobs along the value chain. We’re proud to partner with a company like Eni, which is leading the efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of the transport industry.”


Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi added, “By partnering with IFC and the Italian Climate Fund, Eni further enhances its agri-feedstock projects in Kenya, expanding its reach to up to 200,000 small-scale Kenyan farmers over the next five years, and strengthens the country’s integration in the biofuels value chain. This cooperation fits with Eni’s model to leverage public-private partnerships to support communities, generate long-term value, and create virtuous, lasting alliances with African countries.”


Gilberto Pichetto, Italy’s minister of the environment and energy security, said, “We welcome this first operation of the Italian Climate Fund established at the ministry of the environment and energy security and managed by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti. This first operation, in line with the inspiring principles of the Mattei Plan, captures two major priorities—investing in the strategic biofuels supply chain, which is decisive for the future of transportation, and addressing the growth of the Kenya’s agricultural sector with an intervention of undoubted socioenvironmental impact, strengthening resilience to climate change.”


Global biofuel demand has increased by nearly 6 percent annually for the past five years as the transport industry looks for solutions to decarbonize.


In a net-zero-by-2050 scenario, the use of biofuels in transportation is expected to more than double to 9 percent by 2030.


While production of sustainable biofuels is currently more expensive than traditional fuels, costs are expected to fall as more capacity is built up and technology advances.


This new investment will support these efforts.


IFC will also provide advisory services that will support the development of the advanced-biofuel value chain in Kenya, including through the promotion of good agricultural practices and the professionalization of farmer aggregators.


All of Eni’s biofuel feedstock will receive certification by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification System GmbH.


ISCC is a globally recognized scheme for biofuels with rigorous environmental, social and economic sustainability standards, audited across the entire supply chain.


The success of the project can open up opportunities for replication elsewhere in Africa.


The Italian Climate Fund’s loan is provided through Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, the manager of the fund.


The Italian government’s climate fund (Fondo Italiano per il Clima) is aimed at financing public and private projects in emerging and developing countries that contribute to the achievement of climate and environmental targets, in line with Italian international climate commitments.

IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets.


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