Miro Forestry Company

West Africa,Africa Manufacturing

Miro Forestry is a sustainable forestry company with plantations in rural Sierra Leone and Ghana.

Our investment

In 2015, CDC invested $15 million in the company. Since then, we have made several follow-on investments to further support the company in expanding its plantations and wood processing operations and contribute towards associated positive socio-economic, environmental and climate outcomes for people and planet.

Impact
  • Support economic opportunities (SDG 8.5) and contributing to sustainable economic growth (SDG 8.1, 8.2 and 8.4).
  • Climate change mitigation (SDG 13.A) and protection of natural capital (SDG 15.1 and 15.2).
How?
  • Direct: Mainly through employment creation on plantations and in wood processing facilities.
  • Direct: (1) Carbon sequestration through tree planting on degraded land; (2) Protecting natural forests by providing an alternative, more sustainable source of local timber; (3) Protecting indigenous forests in and around its lease holding.
Stakeholder Geography Characteristics
Employees

Sierra Leone (category ‘A’ country), Ghana (category ‘C’ country); mostly rural

Majority of the workforce is low-skilled (approximately 90 per cent) and rural, approximately 19 per cent female. Limited formal employment opportunities exist in the areas where Miro operates.

Planet

Climate benefits globally, and natural forests locally

From 2001 to 2018, Sierra Leone lost 1.38 million hectares of tree cover, equivalent to a 25 per cent decrease in tree cover since 2000, and 314 million tonnes of CO2. During the same period, Ghana lost 1.09 million hectares of tree cover, equivalent to a 16 per cent decrease in tree cover since 2000, and 291 million tonnes of CO2.

Scale Depth/Duration

Employees: In 2019, Miro employed more than 1,500 people across Sierra Leone and Ghana. Based on the latest business plan, Miro anticipates to employ 3,800 people by 2030. Based on CDC’s portfolio benchmarks, Miro currently falls in the top quartile of companies in CDC’s food and agriculture portfolio in terms of number of jobs supported.

  • Employees (duration): The impact will be sustained long-term (more than 10 years).
  • Employees (depth): Miro pays its low-skilled staff approximately 30 per cent more than national minimum wages.
  • Planet (duration): The impact will be sustained long-term (more than 10 years)
  • Planet (depth): Miro is one of the largest plantation forestry players in West Africa with more than 15,000 hectares planted today and 30,000 hectares by 2030. At least 10 per cent will be kept under conservation (an FSC requirement). The company estimates that its forests will cumulatively sequester approximately 5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent over the course of the business plan.
Grid Score Contribution

3.17

Market context: There is limited availability of patient equity capital for African forestry businesses.

To help us direct our investments, we use a tool called the Development Impact Grid. The Grid scores every investment we plan out of a score of four, based on two factors: the difficulty of investing in the country and whether investment in that sector will lead to jobs.

  • Financial: Without CDC’s support and mobilisation, Miro’s business plan is unlikely to get fully funded.
  • Value-add: CDC has provided significant environmental and social support since 2015. Miro is 2X qualified and has a gender action plan in place in order to support women in the workplace. CDC Plus provided technical assistance support for a plywood market study to inform the business plan in 2019.
  • Mobilisation: CDC has helped to mobilise capital from co-investors (a mix of DFIs and private investors).
Risk

Execution: The realisation of the impact case depends on the successful execution of the business plan. Sustainable plantation forestry is still a nascent sector in Africa (especially outside South Africa), and to date has failed to show many commercial success stories at scale.

Expected impact

Growing demand for timber in West Africa, as well as globally, has meant that the region experiences rising timber imports and prices. Poor supervision of forested regions and a lack of sustainably grown forests have led to significant illegal felling in both Sierra Leone and Ghana. At the current rate of deforestation, forests in Ghana alone could completely disappear in less than 25 years.

Businesses such as Miro, that operate to high sustainability standards, can help to reduce climate change and provide lasting employment to people living nearby.

Miro employs 1,500 people at its plantations in Sierra Leone and Ghana. With each of these employees typically supporting a further seven people, it’s estimated that the company supports 10,500 people in total. The vast majority live in deprived rural areas, where there are few other opportunities for formal employment.

By leasing the land directly from villages and paying them a proportion of income from harvesting, the company has also had a major financial impact on the lives of people in these communities. For example, people in the village of Ranola used the money to build concrete block and steel homes, replacing the wood and thatch buildings where they previously lived.

Environmental and social aspects

Miro Forestry has achieved Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for both its Ghana and Sierra Leone plantations.

We worked closely with the Miro Forestry team to help the team achieve the standard.

We continue to help the company develop long-term strategies to support community development and employee training.

Key facts

Status:
Active
Region

Since 2012, we’ve only invested in Africa and South Asia. Investments outside these regions are from our pre-2012 portfolio.

:
Africa, West Africa
Sector

We have seven priority sectors. However, we continue to invest outside these sectors, largely in the most challenging regions, as new investment supporting any sector helps to underpin the private sector, and create jobs and livelihoods for people.

:
Manufacturing
Website:
http://www.miroforestry.com/
Investment type

We provide capital in three broad ways: direct equity, debt, and intermediated equity (principally through investment funds).

:
Direct Equity
Start date

For direct investments, this is the date CDC committed capital to the business or project.

For funds, this is the date that CDC committed capital to the fund.

For underlying fund investments, this is the date that the fund invested capital into the business.e

:
March 2015
Amount

For direct investments, this is the total amount that CDC has committed to the business or project (it may be a combination of equity and debt).

For funds, this is the total amount that CDC has committed to the fund.

:
$39.85m
Domicile

This is the investee company’s place of incorporation; or a fund’s jurisdiction.

:
United Kingdom