Residual banana bulbs (RBB) were characterized and assessed as a potential starch and cellulose-based feedstock for bioethanol production. To facilitate the enzymatic digestibility, hydrothermal pretreatment was performed on RBB prior to simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) with Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Composition of RBB was similar to traditional starch and cellulose-based feedstocks with high glucan (60 g/100 gDM) and relatively low lignin content (7 g/100 gDM). Both amylase and cellulase were needed to efficiently hydrolyze RBB. The highest ethanol yield (310 kg EtOH/ton_DM_RBB, 93% of theoretical production based on total available glucose) was obtained with non-pretreated RBB. SSF can be carried out at lower RBB concentrations. Hydrothermal pretreatment affected negatively the bioethanol potential due to the loss of fermentable carbohydrates. In a case study of an African leading producer of bananas and plantains (Cameroon), the energy derived from bioethanol was 80 GWh ethanol/year and corresponded to 1.6% of the annual transportation requirement. This study shows that RBB is a promising alternative feedstock for bioethanol production.