The NEWS (Monrovia)

1 February 2013

Liberia: We're Significant Investor in Liberia

Sime Darby says it is proud to be a significant investor in Liberia. The company said concept of foreign investment in agriculture is supported by the IMF and the World Bank, and such investments can stimulate a fledgling economy.

The statement by Sime Darby comes as the UN High Level panel on the post 2015 MDGs begins in Monrovia to discuss developmental goals, including foreign investment, in Africa.

In a statement, the company said Friends of the Earth (FOE) made false allegations about Sime Darby Plantation Liberia's (SDPL) operations. It said neither FOE, nor its partner organization, the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI), represent the interests of local communities in Liberia.

Representatives of local communities in Liberia are on record as criticizing the claims and behavior of both SDI and FOE. The company indicated that on 6 December 2012, the Elders of Gbarpolu County in western Liberia held a press conference to discuss a document that SDI claimed represented community demands (dated 29th November 2012).

"This document is unreliable, and has been strongly condemned by local communities. The Elders expressed their surprise that the document had been crafted without their knowledge and issued a statement which concluded: "We would like to state categorically that SDI is no longer welcomed as their activities are creating more harm than good for our people." Despite this, FOE has chosen to continue circulating misleading information, Sime Darby indicated.

The Malaysian company indicated that SDI's published reports are inaccurate. In the report titled 'Uncertain Futures' (published in August 2012) was withdrawn from the SDI website after SDPL wrote to SDI informing them of several errors in the report.

Furthermore, Sime Dary quoted Mustapha Foboi, the Chairman of the project Affected Communities (PAC) of Gbah Town as saying that he wrote to SDI in September 2012, denouncing the report, stating that the PAC were not consulted or involved in the research that went into it.

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