FrancTrade view: The planned expansion of the SICOVIR plant, a palm oil processing factory in the eastern region of Mutangwa, will be a bonus for local palm producers. It will also divert palm exports away from Uganda for domestic use in Congo. However, the Congolese market remains a net importer of palm oil with an annual deficit of around 60,000 tonnes. Palm oil demand in the country is likely to increase in the medium to long term on account of compelling structural and demographic factors.
Story: DR Congolese start-up company Société Industrielle et Commerciale de Virunga, known by its French acronym SICOVIR, is planning to raise USD 5mn to expand product lines and distribution capacity. SICOVIR produces a line of soaps and detergents largely from locally produced palm oil and plans to establish a plantation and refinery. This is according to its CEO Leon Maliona. The factory is currently powered by energy from a micro electricity plant using resources from the nearby Virunga National Park in Mutwanga near the border with Uganda. Funding for a USD 19.7mn 14-megawatt power plant has been sourced from the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), via the CDC group, and from Howard Buffet, son of US billionaire Warren Buffet.