IPPA Report Frames African Case for Palm Oil, Urges Renewed World Bank Focus on Poverty Reduction

Thursday, August 26, 2010 

Social and Environmental Criteria Would Damage Palm Oil

Development August 23, 2010 (Lagos, Nigeria): In response to the World Bank Group Palm Oil stakeholder consultation, the Nigeria-based think-tank, Initiative for Public Policy Analysis (IPPA), has outlined the indispensable role that palm oil production plays in achieving economic growth and opportunity for African nations such as Nigeria and Ghana – particularly for the rural poor – in a report released today. (Please see report here)

Nigeria is the third largest producer of palm oil following Indonesia and Malaysia. The country provides a clear example of how palm oil, as a result of its high yield and low production costs, is a highly effective means of alleviating poverty and promoting economic development, the primary reason for the existence of the World Bank and International Finance Corporation.

IPPA’s report highlights the importance for the World Bank to stay focused on its original mission of poverty reduction through economic development. It argues that imposing burdensome environmental and social guidelines on investment in the production and supply chain of palm oil will unduly shift the core focus on the mission of the World Bank and IFC, and consequently undermine economic growth of developing countries.

"The Nigerian palm oil industry provides an enlightening example for how palm oil can reduce poverty and provide sustainable economic growth for African nations." said Thompson Ayodele, Director of IPPA and author of the think tank’s submission to the World Bank. "Policies guiding World Bank palm oil investment should not discourage investment by adding additional certification barriers that inevitably lead to a welfare mentality by paying developing countries to cease land conversion and relinquish the associated economic development."

"The freezing of support to palm oil production would only succeed in achieving one thing: divert attention away from real issues that affect palm oil trade," he warns.

IPPA is proud to have the support of Dr. Matthew O. Eshalomi, Chairman of Vegetable and Edible Oil Section of the Manufacturer Association of Nigeria, who in his foreword to IPPA’s report wrote, "The World Bank Review of palm oil financing must be developed with poverty reduction as the single aim. Policies which restrict effective poverty alleviating investment on environmental or social grounds necessarily diminish poverty reduction.

To view the IPPA’s report for the World Bank Palm Oil consultation, click here .

The Initiative for Public Policy Analysis (IPPA) is Nigeria’s public policy research institute or think tank. Its major concern is with the principles and institutions that enhance economic development and wealth creation, with particular focus on Africa and Nigeria.

For media enquiries, please contact the author of the report Thompson Ayodele on +234.1.791.0959, +234.80.2302.5079 or thompson@ippanigeria.org.

Initiative for Public Policy Analyis Address:9A, Adekunle Odunlami Street, Off Aina George, Ilupeju, Lagos, Nigeria Phone: +234-1-791-0959, +234-(0)80-2302-507 | URL: www.ippanigeria.org