Abubakari AHMED, PhD in Sustainability Science (Ghana)

Biofuel production is a major part of economic development in West Africa. Abubakari Ahmed’s multi-criteria decision analysis of feedstock options used in biofuel production is helping to improve the livelihoods of Ghanaian farmers by discerning best practices for cultivating biofuel in a sustainable way.

Current position: Lecturer at University for Development Studies, Ghana

Research focus: the sustainability assessment of large-scale land acquisitions for biofuel in Ghana

The overproduction of biofuel in West Africa will likely have unprecedented impacts on livelihoods, food security and biodiversity in the region. Current mechanisms for cultivating biofuel, for example, require a good deal of land, especially as production catches on throughout the region with the increased involvement of foreign investors. The key to producing biofuel in a socially and environmentally responsible manner is to analyse best practices in the cultivation of biofuel. Through his research, Ahmed is currently assessing the sustainability of large-scale land acquisitions for biofuel in Ghana.

Ahmed’s work in Ghana is helping to smooth the nation’s transition into biofuel production in rural areas by developing best practices and informing farmers on the local level about these complex energy systems. Using multi-criteria decision analysis, he is examining the social, economic and environmental impacts of various feedstock options used in biofuel production. With this multidisciplinary approach, Abubakari’s research is playing a part in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Ahmed is a PhD student in sustainability science at the University of Tokyo. He previously earned a Master of Science from the United Nations University in Japan for his study of environmental governance with a specialisation in biodiversity. Ahmed has won several different awards, including the United Nations University Junior Fellowship and the Tertiary Education Scholarship Trust for Africa. He has also authored and co-authored multiple scientific papers, which have appeared in well-known publications like the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Review. Upon completing his PhD, Ahmed plans to continue his work by pursuing a postdoctoral fellowship and to one day establish a sustainability research centre in Ghana.

The jury was impressed with Ahmed`s development of an interdisciplinary methodological approach to his research. He has aptly chosen to study a relevant topic, which had previously not been explored enough for the sake of improving the lives of people living in West Africa.