Mozambique: Panama Papers Reveals Would-be Lurio Valley Land Grab

More details have been revealed of what would be the largest agricultural development project in Africa. The Lurio River Valley Development Project (Companhia de Desenvolvimento do Vale do Rio Lurio) says it has applied to government for 600,000 hectares – 347,528 ha in Nampula, 107,117 ha in Cabo Delgado and 152,591 ha in Niassa – and that local consultations (which no one has noticed) are complete. It claims it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with government on land and water use in 2012. The $2.5 billion project aims to develop large private industrial farms, two major dams and other infrastructure such as canals. An estimated 500,000 people live on these lands. A detailed map from the presentation is in the pdf of this newsletter.

Panama papers documents released recently suggest the project is linked to three companies, Turconsult, Arcem and Agricane. Turconsult is headed by Rui Monteiro, said to be an Frelimo-linked businessman who serves as a fixer for foreign investors. Money is expected to come from Abu Dhabi and through various investment trusts in tax havens.

Despite claims that the government signed a preliminary agreement four years ago for the largest farm project in Mozambican history, nothing is known about it and no one in government would comment. But it seems highly unlikely that this sort of funding could be raised.

Source: Mozambique News Reports & Clippings.