The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (“NSIA” or “The Authority”),
managers of Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund, in partnership with the Ogun State Government
(Ogun State) and the InVivo Foundation, the endowment fund of the InVivo Group, France’s
leading agricultural cooperative, have signed a Letter of Intent (“LOI”) to spearhead
investments in reforestation and land restoration projects in Imeko and Aworo Forest and
Game Reserves in Ogun State.
Signed during a state visit by President Emmanuel Macron of
France to President Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria, the LOI will enable direct investment in
Land Degradation Neutrality and Waste to Energy projects in Ogun State.
Under this non-binding agreement, Ogun State, as project owner entered into agreements
with InVivo and NSIA, the co-developers who will provide technical and finance expertise
respectively. In addition, Ogun State and the NSIA have co-created the Ogun State
Sustainable Development Company Parties (“OSSDCP”), a jointly owned public-private
special purpose vehicle through which the restoration project will be executed.
The project is set to transform over 108,000 hectares of heavily degraded land into an arable
green area. It is intended to employ innovative approaches to achieve best-in-class
environmental, social and economic results. The project’s uniqueness rests in the way it will
combine land restoration with business development objectives by applying the latest agroecology
and agro-forestry techniques.
Designed around a 3-prong strategy named “Ile-Dotun” or “Land Renewal”, the project will
cover rebuilding of the natural ecosystem to increase biodiversity, communal farming
including small holder farmer programs and lastly, commercial agro-forestry through
allocation of land leases to socially and environmentally responsible agro-industrial investors.
In addition to the plan to restore over 80% of the tree cover in the area, the project seeks to
provide investment and expansion opportunities for operators in the State which overall
would lead to job creation, food security and a better environment.
In his remarks, His Excellency, Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State said, “This agreement
is vital to addressing climate change challenges and restoring our forests. More importantly
the programme will improve our economic standing by providing employment to the people
of the state, among other benefits. In the long run, Ile-Dotun will serve as proof that enterprise
and achieving environmental mitigation are mutually supportive in tropical agriculture.”
Mr. Uche Orji, Managing Director/CEO of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority in his
remarks said, “Agriculture remains a pivotal area of interest to the NSIA. By giving impetus to
this sector, we aim to promote food security, value chain development and job creation.
Beyond this, the waste-to-power component of Ile-Dotun highlights our commitment to
sustainable development. We will continue on this path by incremental facilitating initiatives
that reduce the nation’s carbon footprint and reverses land degradation across the country.”
Speaking on the significance of the signing, the General Manager, InVivo Foundation, Ms.
Rachel Kolbe Semhoun stated that “This agreement is a first for the InVivo Foundation in
Nigeria. It underscores our committed to the environment and social sustainability of the
operations of the InVivo Group. It is expected that the use of agro-ecology and agro-forestry
principles will dramatically increase the overall socio-economic impact and highlight the
capacity of agriculture to provide positive solutions to environmental issues.”