The Bukanga Lonzo Debacle: The Failure of Agro-Industrial Parks in DRC
The Bukanga Lonzo Debacle exposes the numerous land rights violations and human rights abuses, pollution and health hazards, misspent funds, charges of embezzlement and corruption, and legal action since the establishment and collapse of the Bukanga Lonzo agro-industrial park pilot in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The report’s extensive research on the project and its impact reveals that agro-industrial parks are a false solution to the challenges faced by DRC and Africa when it comes to food, agriculture, and poverty alleviation.
The Bukanga Lonzo agro-industrial park was set up in 2014 through a public-private partnership between the government and a South African company, Africom Commodities. It was to use 80,000 hectares of land for the production of corn and other commodities. The state spent close to US$100 million of public money on the project.
However, three years after it was launched, the project collapsed in 2017. Africom blamed high costs and the unreliability of the government’s plans and payment, and launched a court action in July 2018 against DRC for non-payment of expenses. The DRC government blames Africom for the failure.