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18 Dec 2023

DRC : European development banks reportedly facilitated illegal oil palm plantation expansion and land claims

It has now been more than five years since nine communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) filed a complaint with the International Complaint Mechanism (ICM) of the German, French and Dutch development banks. The complaint centred around land conflicts with the oil palm plantation company, Plantations et Huileries du Congo (PHC, formerly owned by Feronia Inc). Unfortunately, the mediation process resulting from this complaint is set to collapse, unless strong measures are taken to ensure adequate, safe, independent and truly inclusive participation of the local communities and their representatives.

The complaint filed by villagers from the areas of Lokutu and Boteka in 2018 dealt with three issues: land conflicts, violence against villagers, and the lack of transparency. Over the past five years, none of these issues have been resolved, but have instead only grown worse.

Evidence already provided by the communities makes it clear that funding from development banks to PHC (and its owner at the time, Feronia Inc) facilitated an illegal expansion of PHC plantations and land claims.

Company Responses

DEG (part of KfW) View Response
Belgian Investment Company for Developing countries (BIO) View Response
British International Investment (formerly CDC Group) View Response
PHC - Plantations et Huileries du Congo (formerly Feronia) View Response