Gabon

SFM Africa is implementing an innovative investment and development initiative to develop forestry, ecotourism, agribusiness, fisheries and environmental land-use rights over a regional landscape in southern Gabon; under the auspices of The Grande Mayumba Development Company (GMDC).

The Grande Mayumba Development Company (GMDC or Grande Mayumba) is a public-private partnership formed between the Republic of Gabon and SFM Africa Limited (SFM Africa) to consolidate and develop a forest land area of 631,100 ha and a marine area of 260,900 ha on the basis of an ecologically sound and economically optimal long-term land management plan (Grande Mayumba Sustainable Development Plan). Grande Mayumba is located in Nyanga Province, Southern Gabon. The Project will develop commercially sound businesses in the Grande Mayumba area. These businesses will encompass integrated, all-inclusive, verifiable strategies for achieving environmental and economic sustainability in the project area through the securitisation of environmental rights and natural resource values attributable to the land. There are five primary business components – forestry, agribusiness, fisheries, ecotourism and infrastructure development.

The Grande Mayumba area has two main population centres, Mayumba town (approximately 3,000 people) and Ndindi (approximately 500 inhabitants). The number of people in the area, especially urban populations is expected to grow rapidly with increased economic development opportunity. The Grande Mayumba area includes commercial forestry concessions, state-owned land, and a National Park (including Gabon’s only marine reserve) and holds a significant 'standing' store of carbon, estimated at approximately 434 million tCO2e.

Biodiversity Conservation
The GMDC has, through careful planning and stakeholder consultation, determined an ‘arc’ of conservation from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mayombe mountains, containing important populations of African forest elephants, great apes, other large mammal species and intact forests of high biodiversity and conservation concern.

 

Forestry
Nyanga Forestry Operations, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GMDC, has an operating lease to manage GMDC’s forestry concessions and is presently utilising ‘improved forest management’ (including reduced impact logging) to conduct sustainable forestry operations over a commercial forestry area of 213,000 ha. The forest area has been classified, evaluated and delineated taking cognisance of forest structure, condition and composition as well as physiographic and ecological characteristics.
Trees harvested in the GMDC concession area are processed locally in the GMDC sawmill, adding both value to the timber products and increasing local skills and income. All forestry operations will comply with internationally recognised standards of best practice and NFO manages the chain of custody of both round wood (logs) and sawn timber production in compliance with forest law enforcement and governance trade standards.

 

Agribusiness
The agribusiness development objective is to produce agriculture products that can cost-effectively replace imported foodstuffs and facilitate export opportunities for Gabon. GMDC will ensure that agribusiness investments are implemented in a commercially sound and economically optimal manner, as well as in full compliance with exacting environmental standards. Establishment of agribusinesses will create sustainable employment for Gabonese citizens at all levels of the enterprise.

 

Fisheries
The projected Increase in economic activity and population in Grande Mayumba and the Nyanga Province, combined with favourable marine conditions and the current inadequate cleaning, processing, packing and storage capacity, suggest considerable opportunities for a viable fisheries sector in Grande Mayumba. The fisheries component of the Project focuses on supporting and enhancing existing artisanal fishing activities, expanding lobster resources and initiating oyster cultivation. The project's principal fisheries objective is the sustainable use of marine resources to provide long-term benefits and improved value addition.
Ecotourism
SFM Gabon’s ecotourism subsidiary, SFM Safari Gabon embraces a rare opportunity to build a unique, competitive, high-quality/low-impact regional ecotourism industry. SFM Safari Gabon will establish a high-end "green" safari circuit of luxury lodges and will be the pioneer of high value tropical forest tourism in Central Africa. The ecotourism component encompasses integrated and verifiable strategies for achieving environmental and economic sustainability, including well-trained and motivated staff, ‘green-building’ designed lodges and electric powered game vehicles and boats. SFM Safari Gabon will use the extraordinary biodiversity of the Grande Mayumba area to implement ecotourism in forest, lagoon and beach/marine environments.
Infrastructure
Grande Mayumba is expected to experience a rapid increase in infrastructure development through the Project's investment programme as well as national developments. The potential for rapid and unplanned development represents a major threat to the maintenance of forest cover in Grande Mayumba. Without the intervention of GMDC, it is recognised that local planning and development coordination skills and resources will be insufficient to deal with the anticipated rapid development changes.
SFM Africa has carried out a forward-planning exercise for three different levels of development at Grande Mayumba and considered the required infrastructure services for each, including power (specifically renewable power sources), water supply, road and storm water infrastructure, sewage and essential services infrastructure. GMDC will be materially involved with the planning, financing and development of infrastructure and will ensure that all developments meet with Gabon's development goals and the principles of ‘Green Gabon’.