The move extends the company’s operations to its fourth African country after Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique and consolidates NFC as the leading sustainable forestry company in East Africa.
The agreement, which last for 49 years, gives NFC the right to harvest almost 12,000ha (30,000 acres) of pine, cypress, eucalyptus and acacia planted as a buffer zone around the Nyungwe National Forest in the southwest of the country. Most of the trees are fully mature and were planted in the early to mid 1970s. Once the existing timber is harvested, the company will replant the land under a lease agreement.
The company plans to establish a series of processing plants to manufacture value added wood products for the construction and house building industry; electricity transmission poles; and bio-energy – both for the local Rwandan and for the regional East African market.
The Rwandan forest adds 12,000ha to the company’s existing planted forest area of 15,000ha giving NFC control over 27,000ha of planted timber in various age classes and making NFC the biggest plantation forestry company in East Africa.
The agreement was signed in Kigali by Hon Stanislas Kamanzi, Minister of Natural Resources, and Julian Ozanne, NFC Chief Executive.
“I am delighted that we have finally reached agreement with the government of Rwanda after almost three years,” said Mr Ozanne. “This is a strategic leap forward for the company giving us access to a magnificent mature planted forest which will accelerate the company’s current focus on revenue generation.”
“We have had wonderful support throughout government and directly from His Excellency President Paul Kagame and we are looking forward to participating in the investment success story that is Rwanda.”