In 2018, SEI embarked on a new initiative on Governing Bioeconomy Pathways. The aim is to devise a strategic framework for analysis to guide decision makers towards more cohesive and constructive governance of bioresource pathways. Among other things, this has involved using SEI’s Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning (LEAP) tool to model the intersection between energy- and non-energy-related products and the resulting land-use implications, and explore “the cross-sector (energy, agriculture, forestry) effects of different pathways”. (SEI, 2020).

Neither the country nor the context for this exploration was specified when the initiative was originally proposed. After reviewing possible candidates, Rwanda was selected in order to build on ties established with Rwandan stakeholders during past projects. SEI had previously co-created a LEAP model in partnership with the government ministries overseeing energy planning and forest management, as well as Belgium’s development agency, Enabel, which has been working with both sectors to develop a national Biomass Energy Strategy.

On 18 September 2019, a small and informal one-day workshop was held in Kigali, Rwanda to enable a free-flowing discussion of the background to and context of Rwanda’s Biomass Energy Strategy and the Government of Rwanda’s plans to update the LEAP model and implement the Biomass Energy Strategy. It reviewed the inputs into and results from the original model, as well as the directions that alternative pathways might take based on emerging policies and knowledge gained since the original strategies were developed. Specific attention was also paid to broader bioeconomy issues.

This discussion brief summarizes the updating of the LEAP model for Rwanda and the proceedings of the workshop, and reviews the future plans for collaboration with Rwandan partners.