Uganda / Agri-Vie Fund-02/Mubende
The IFC-supported Agri-Vie Agribusiness Fund is a private equity fund with the purpose of making equity investments in agribusiness companies in Southern and Eastern Africa. In its current portfolio, Agri-Vie has invested in New Forests Company (NFC), a UK-based forestry company operating established and growing timber plantations in Eastern Africa. Operational in Uganda since 2005, NFC operates three pine and eucalyptus plantations - in the Mubende, Kiboga and Bugiri districts respectively.
In December 2011, four affected community representatives, Oxfam International, Oxfam Great Britain, and the Uganda Land Alliance (a national consortium of organizations advocating on land issues) submitted a complaint to the CAO on behalf of people living around the plantation in Mubende. The complaint raised concerns about evictions and displacement in the plantation area, alleging that the evictions negatively impacted the communities by displacing them from land, destroying their private property, and forcing them to forgo health, education, and livelihood opportunities. The complaint also voiced broader concerns about the IFC’s due diligence.
CAO found the complaint eligible for further assessment in January 2012. The CAO team travelled to the field in February and March to meet with the relevant stakeholders to explore options for a collaborative solution of the issues raised in the complaint. After CAO conducted its assessment, both the representatives of the Mubende affected community and NFC indicated their willingness to participate in a mediation process facilitated by CAO. This is captured in CAO's Assessment Report, which is available under "View Documents" below.
The mediation process aimed at finding an acceptable and workable solution between the Mubende Community representatives and NFC (“parties”). Over 2012 and early 2013, the CAO mediator conducted extensive caucus sessions with each of the parties, as well as their advisors (Oxfam, Uganda Land Alliance). The contents of these caucuses are by agreement confidential, and will not be reported on. The mediator also facilitated direct bilateral discussions and negotiation sessions between the parties, and assisted the parties in developing greater understanding of the issues at hand. The CAO mediation team also worked extensively with the parties, and more particularly the affected community representatives, to ensure they had the requisite capacity to participate in the mediation process.
The parties have reached agreement on a range of principles, and have captured these in a Framework Agreement endorsed by their representatives in March 2013, the content of which is to remain confidential to the parties and their advisors. In terms of the Framework Agreement, the parties have agreed a joint programme of sustainable development aimed at benefiting the affected community. A full progress report in English, Luganda and Runyankole is available under "View Documents" below, which summarizes aspects of the Framework Agreement the parties have agreed to make public. The parties will now quickly work toward a final agreement based on these principles.
Oxfam has provided ongoing support to the affected community throughout the CAO mediation process.
The framework agreement marks substantial progress between the parties who have now agreed all the principles of a full and final settlement of the dispute, which will be formalised in a final agreement. In terms of the CAO process, a final agreement between NFC and the Mubende community will bring to an end the CAO dispute resolution process. However, the CAO will have an on-going role to monitor and evaluate implementation of the agreement between the parties.
All documents related to this case are available at the below link. For information on the first Agri-Vie complaint, see CAO case "Uganda/Agri-Vie Fund-01/Kiboga".
Updated: March 15, 2013
- Project Name & Number
- Agri-Vie Fund 27674
- Agri-Vie Fund PCC
- Finance & Insurance
- Sub-Saharan Africa
- Environmental Category
- US$7m equity investment
- Eligible: Completed
- Assessment Period: Completed
- Facilitating Settlement: In Process