Accra, Ghana, June 1, 2010—IFC
and the World Bank held consultations with a wide range of stakeholders
in Accra, Ghana, on May 31 and June 1, 2010, as part of a broad, global
consultative process to develop a palm oil strategy that will support smaller
businesses while minimizing negative environmental impacts. IFC is a member
of the World Bank Group.
About 60 people attended the consultations,
representing civil society organizations, private companies, financial
institutions, industry associations, smallholder producers, government,
and research institutions. Participants came from Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire,
Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.
During the consultations, participants
discussed the potential of the palm oil industry in Sub-Saharan Africa
and its economic, social, and environmental implications. Increasing
yields and productivity were seen as key to the industry’s future. The
discussion focused on the need to support smallholder producers through
access to finance, environmental certification, land policy and technology
transfer, among other issues.
“IFC and the World Bank are working
with a diverse group of stakeholders to inform our new global strategy
that will guide our future engagement in the palm oil sector,” said Mary-Jean
Ndlovo, IFC Ghana Country Manager. “Sub-Saharan Africa has a long history
of palm oil production. This consultative process is helping us identify
key issues affecting the palm oil sector and define ways the World Bank
Group can support economic development while protecting the environment.”
African palm oil production represents
3 percent of global supply, though palm oil is the most popular food oil
on the continent. Consumption in Africa is expected to increase, as the
continent’s population grows. Palm oil production in Africa has thepotential
to support sustainable economic development in several countries in west
Participants at the meeting in Accra
agreed that there was considerable scope for expansion, but noted that
the industry should be carefully managed to avoid potential threats to
tropical forests and associated biodiversity loss.
The World Bank Group will not develop
new palm oil projects until its global palm oil strategy is in place and
development can follow sound social and environmental practices. Consultations
with stakeholders have been held in the United States, Central America,
Asia, and Europe.
For more information, see the World
Bank Group’s dedicated palm oil sector website at www.ifc.org/palmoilstrategy.
About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding
and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated
institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
(IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), the International
Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
(MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes
(ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight
poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world.
For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org,