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World Bank Group Seeks Africa Stakeholder Input for Palm Oil Strategy

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 Africa.
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 .
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 , , and .