The government of the DR Congo is going to clear its debt of $12 million owed to the Israeli firm LR Group with a view to relaunching the agro-industrial and presidential Domain of N’Sele (DAIPN). Located on the banks of the Congo River, more than forty kilometres east of Kinshasa, was part of Mobutu Sese Seko’s white elephants.
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The destiny of the N’Sele Farm strongly dependant on politics
Launched in 1966, this agro-industrial project has evolved with the political life of the country. In its heyday, a good dozen Europeans – including many Belgians – and Chinese executives were called upon to develop model livestock and agricultural activities. The park had a vast battery chicken farm, livestock, and a large crop of pineapples and other agricultural products.
The estate included a vast animal park, “the Parc Président Mobutu”, covering several hundred hectares, as well as enclosures sheltering lions, cheetahs, okapis, chimpanzees, zebras, etc. A public Olympic swimming pool welcoming the public, many of whom are Kinshasa residents -mainly at weekends- will be added to the scenery.
In 2013, the park was the subject of a new relaunch through an agreement with the Israeli firm LR Group, founded by Ami Lustin, which has international expertise in the field of water, sanitation, and the development of agribusiness projects. Fifteen months after signing the contracts with the government, LR Group is offering the Chinese population the products from its 42 poultry houses already operational on the site.
Seven years later, however, “Mobutu’s Paradise”, despite the promises of its promoters, has not yet completely escaped its fate as a white elephant, standing out instead in terms of liabilities and late payments.
The N’Sele Farm has great potential
The government’s decision to clear debts can be interpreted as a desire to get rid of past problems. “The Council of Ministers has decided to pay this debt of $12 million while asking the company to give the state of execution of the $3 million previously paid to it,” announced the Minister of Communication and Media, reporting on the Council of Ministers held Friday, May 22nd, 2020 in Kinshasa.
Practically at a standstill for several months, the DAIPN/N’Sele, a 3,000 hectare factory farm, should guarantee the food self-sufficiency of the DRC. “The whole issue is to establish a reorganized and revitalized farm, using education and government support to create sustainable development of a wide variety of agricultural products,” it is said.
The climate and the varied soil in the DRC have great potential, offering the country the possibility of becoming an important agricultural producer. The area is currently facing chronic food shortages, so the development of the N’Sele Farm brings a ray of hope. Years of political instability have hindered the project, but the current government is decided to revive the agricultural sector.
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First published in Financial Afrik, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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