Pictured above from left to right: Green Plains Inc. Head of International Ethanol Trading Brandon Thomas., U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Stephanie Sullivan, Growth Energy Senior Vice President of Global Markets Craig Willis, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky, and Ag Counselor for the U.S. Embassy Charles Rush.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, Growth Energy Senior Vice President of Global Markets Craig Willis participated in a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trade mission to West Africa, led by USDA Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky. Willis was joined on the trade mission by representatives from Growth Energy member companies Archer Daniels Midland, Green Plains Inc., and Marquis Energy.

From October 28-31, the trade delegation met in Ghana and Nigeria with commodity groups and buyer delegations from Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Senegal, including Nigeria Cassava Growers Association National President Segun Andewumi. These meetings gave the group greater insight into the countries’ market dynamics and the potential for ethanol-blended fuel in the region.

Following the trade mission, Willis stressed the value of these opportunities to meet one-on-one and advocate for the economic and environmental benefits of ethanol for these nations.

“These trips are so important because they are the beginning of long relationships,” Willis said. “During these initial meetings, you get to hear first-hand where the bottlenecks are and the regulatory barriers they’re facing for ethanol to come to Nigeria and Ghana. We now have an opportunity to take back what we’ve learned from experts in these countries and work to figure out how to open these markets and bring ethanol to these two countries.”

According to a recent report by USDA, both Ghana and Nigeria have seen growth in their ethanol usage over the past five years, despite not yet employing it for fuel use. In 2018, the U.S. accounted for nearly 48 percent of Nigeria’s ethanol imports – 21 million gallons – and the agency expects that number to grow as Nigeria’s auto fleet expands. Ghana’s imports of U.S. ethanol for non-fuel use have also increased dramatically since 2014, from $19,000 to over $5.5 million. As the country seeks to meet its Paris Agreement commitments, phase out toxic additives in its fuel, and reduce dependence on foreign oil, ethanol has the potential to help Ghana achieve its goals.

Watch Willis’ recap of the trade mission here.

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