Malaysia firm sets sight on Congo

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palm_oil_roadKuala-Lumpur based industry conglomerate Wah Seong Berhad plans to develop an agro-industrial complex in Congo with investments of $744 million over the next ten years, the  African nation’s agriculture minister Rigobert Maboundou was quoted as saying by local media on June 1.

The project includes a 180,000-hectare palm plantation 800 kilometers north of Congo’s capital Brazzaville that will be the largest palm oil project in the Congo basin. The investment will be undertaken through local firm Atama Plantations of which Wah Seong acquired a 51 per cent share in 2012 for $25 million. It will also include an agro-industrial plant to process the palm oil, creating 20,000 jobs, the minister said.

Construction of the palm oil transformation units will begin in 2013 and production will kick off in 2017, Leong Kian Ming, Atama’s chief executive officer, said.

However, the project has already been met with criticism from environmental groups. Activists observed that Atama has begun clearing up “vast areas of the Congo basin forests with no attention to the likely impacts on the environment or on people dependent on the forest,” Simon Counsell, Executive Director of the Rainforest Foundation UK, said.

The economy of the Republic of the Congo, as the country is officially called, is largely dependent on hydrocarbons, with the oil sector accounting for about 85 per cent of government revenue and 92 per cent of exports. A diversification towards palm oil could help the state to open alternative sources of income, economist say and also mention that there are large untapped resources such as gold, iron and phosphate.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Kuala-Lumpur based industry conglomerate Wah Seong Berhad plans to develop an agro-industrial complex in Congo with investments of $744 million over the next ten years, the  African nation’s agriculture minister Rigobert Maboundou was quoted as saying by local media on June 1.

Reading Time: 1 minute

palm_oil_roadKuala-Lumpur based industry conglomerate Wah Seong Berhad plans to develop an agro-industrial complex in Congo with investments of $744 million over the next ten years, the  African nation’s agriculture minister Rigobert Maboundou was quoted as saying by local media on June 1.

The project includes a 180,000-hectare palm plantation 800 kilometers north of Congo’s capital Brazzaville that will be the largest palm oil project in the Congo basin. The investment will be undertaken through local firm Atama Plantations of which Wah Seong acquired a 51 per cent share in 2012 for $25 million. It will also include an agro-industrial plant to process the palm oil, creating 20,000 jobs, the minister said.

Construction of the palm oil transformation units will begin in 2013 and production will kick off in 2017, Leong Kian Ming, Atama’s chief executive officer, said.

However, the project has already been met with criticism from environmental groups. Activists observed that Atama has begun clearing up “vast areas of the Congo basin forests with no attention to the likely impacts on the environment or on people dependent on the forest,” Simon Counsell, Executive Director of the Rainforest Foundation UK, said.

The economy of the Republic of the Congo, as the country is officially called, is largely dependent on hydrocarbons, with the oil sector accounting for about 85 per cent of government revenue and 92 per cent of exports. A diversification towards palm oil could help the state to open alternative sources of income, economist say and also mention that there are large untapped resources such as gold, iron and phosphate.

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