On December 21, 2012, MIGA issued guarantees of $27 million to EcoPlanet Bamboo Group, LLC of the United States for its investment in Nicaragua. The coverage is for a period of up to 15 years against the risks of expropriation and war and civil disturbance.
The project consists of the purchase and conversion of degraded land in the El Rama area into comercial bamboo plantations for the sale and export of sustainably grown and harvested bamboo fiber. EPB Group plans to establish a pre-processing facility for the production and sale of its Forest Stewardship Council-certified bamboo fiber to U.S. and multinational timber manfacturers for use in industries such as laminates and composites for construction and furniture, pulp and paper production, and the generation of renewable energy. Waste and lower value culms will be used for biomass energy to fuel the company's needs, with excess being sold to the local grid.
EPB's initial investment into Nicaragua has generated over 500 jobs in a region with high unemployment and restored 3,750 acres of degraded land into bamboo plantations, improving biodiversity and reducing pressure on surrounding forests.
EPB Group is also committed to investing in training programs and supporting local community development initiatives.
The project is aligned with the World Bank Group's Country Assistance Strategy for Nicaragua, which aims to accelerate private sector development—including through assistance to exporters and hard currency earners such as agribusiness projects.
MIGA's participation in the project is also aligned with the Agency's commitment to support investment into countries eligible for concessional lending from the International Development Association.