Friday, September 3, 2010

Liberian Govt Signs U.S. $1.6 Billion Oil Palm Investment Agreement

The Government of Liberia (“GoL”) and Golden VerOleum (Liberia) Inc. (“GVL”) Thursday, September 2, announced a partnership for the cultivation of sustainable palm oil by the company and by Liberian smallholders and farmers, mill processing and value-added manufacturing. The investment is expected to total US$1.6 billion, creating more than 35,000 direct jobs and building a whole new economic sector in Liberia’s southeastern counties.
GVL is incorporated in Liberia and is a subsidiary of the Verdant Fund LP (“Verdant”). Verdant’s initial and lead investor for this project is Golden Agri-Resources (“GAR”). Apart from GAR, Verdant is expected to receive funding from other investors to meet its targeted US$1.6 billion investment amount. Additionally, GVL will draw on GAR’s expertise and more than 20 years of experience in Indonesia, where GAR cultivates more than 400,000 hectares (1 million acres) of oil palm. GVL will be managed by a Liberia-dedicated, experienced management team while GAR will maintain its plantations operational focus on Indonesia and provide technical expertise to GVL.
GoL and GVL are commemorating the partnership by establishing the VerOleum Scholarship Fund, with an initial award of US$100,000 in the first year, to be followed by annual awards. The scholarship will provide education, training and employment for outstanding Liberian students pursuing a career in agriculture.
“Sustainable palm oil development will be a central growth pillar in rebuilding our economy and reducing poverty. It will not only provide income and create employment for our people; oil palm plantations will also provide infrastructure and education to the workers in those estates and lift the overall standard of living. We are excited about our partnership with GVL and by GAR’s investment. As a leader in the industry, GAR has a proven track record of large-scale palm oil production and best practices to achieve high productivity and at the same time maximize preservation of both high conservation value areas and biodiversity,” said Dr. Florence Chenoweth, Liberia’s Minister of Agriculture at the signing ceremony.
GAR’s Chairman and CEO, Mr. Franky Widjaja, highlighted, “We are fully committed to sustainable palm oil development and understand that this is the same ambition that the Government of Liberia shares. With such a common ground, we believe that we can work together to develop the palm oil industry into becoming one of the main pillars of growth for Liberia.”
Matt Karinen, Chairman of GVL, said, “The partnership is a major step for Golden VerOleum and Verdant. To participate in the development of one of the fastest improving countries in Africa is something we are very excited about. The VerOleum Scholarship Fund also signifies our deep commitment to playing a part in the development of Liberia. We believe that this will give opportunities for outstanding students to be identified and nurtured through our scholarship, and we look forward to employing successful candidates after they have finished their studies. Furthermore, we expect to make a major positive contribution to the environment. Today, and for more than 20 years, Liberia is being deforested by slash-and-burn agriculture, driven by rural poverty. By offering employment, smallholder programs and making the degraded land productive, we hope to slow down and stop the deforestation.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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