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MIGA increases EcoPlanet Bamboo guarantee

The World Bank's political risk insurance arm has issued a $48.8m guarantee to help the bamboo plantations manager expand its Nicaraguan operations.

The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the political risk insurance arm of the World Bank Group, has doubled its guarantee for Nicaraguan bamboo producer EcoPlanet Bamboo to $48.8 million.

The guarantee will enable EcoPlanet to expand its project in Nicaragua and purchase more degraded land for conversion into sustainable bamboo plantations. The cover is for up to 15 years against the risks of expropriation, war and civil disturbance.

The guarantee follows a $8.6 million deal with EcoPlanet’s South African operation in February.

“MIGA’s backing has given us the ability and confidence to more than triple our original investment in Nicaragua and move forward with other international expansions in both Southern and West Africa,” said Troy Wiseman, EcoPlanet Bamboo Group co-founder and chief executive in a statement. “We’re investing very significantly on research and development as we work with our Fortune 500 clients to help them transition from timber and fibre originating from the harvesting of natural forests, to a solution that meets their technical specifications, quality, and price – so that together we can really make a dent in deforestation.”

As well as helping companies move away from harvesting natural forests for their timber needs, EcoPlanet has also developed over 8,500 acres of degraded land, received validation of 1.5 million tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide and has created hundreds of direct and indirect jobs in the region, according to a World Bank release.

“MIGA is thrilled to expand its work with EcoPlanet Bamboo Group as they revolutionise the timber industry to combat climate change – creating jobs and adhering to high corporate social responsibility standards in the process,” said MIGA’s chief executive Keiko Honda.

The fibre produced is exported for use in pulp production, laminates, activated carbon and renewable energy production.