Wikileaks: Madagascar: GOM (again) denies Daewoo land deal

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Viewing cable 08ANTANANARIVO852, MADAGASCAR: GOM (AGAIN) DENIES DAEWOO LAND DEAL

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ANTANANARIVO852 2008-12-19 09:14 2011-08-26 00:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Antananarivo
	VZCZCXRO0571
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
Original_wl_hour_glass_small
	DE RUEHAN #0852 3540914
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 190914Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY ANTANANARIVO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1886
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
	UNCLAS ANTANANARIVO 000852 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR AF/E - MBEYZEROV 
 
REF:  ANTANANARIVO 787 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV ECON EINV EAGR MA
SUBJECT:   MADAGASCAR:  GOM (AGAIN) DENIES DAEWOO LAND DEAL 
 
¶1. (U) The following diplomatic note dated December 12 was delivered 
to Post in response to recent media reports concerning a major 
agricultural investment by South Korea's Daewoo Logistics (reftel). 
The story was reported on extensively in both foreign and domestic 
media despite an immediate denial from the GOM, and continues to 
provoke speculation in the Malagasy and international press.  This 
note was provided to further clarify the GOM's position. 
 
¶2. (U) BEGIN TEXT: 
 
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS 
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL 
DIRECTION OF MULTILATERAL COOPERATION 
Office in charge of Cooperation with Asia and Pacific 
No. 08-2438/AE/M/NV 
 
DIPLOMATIC NOTE 
 
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Madagascar 
presents its compliments to ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR MISSIONS in 
Antananarivo and, pursuant to the information stated by the 
international media, namely "The Financial Times", concerning the 
alleged real estate rental contract on 3 million hectares between 
the Government of Madagascar and Daewoo Logistics, has the honor to 
provide hereafter an official denial by the Government of Madagascar 
on this issue: 
 
"The information affirming the signature of a contract of purchase 
of estate in Madagascar by the Korean company Daewoo is false. 
Indeed, Daewoo Logistics has expressed interest, just like any 
investor, in investing in agribusiness in Madagascar, for large 
scale farming of corn and production of palm oil. 
As a result, a Memorandum of Understanding on the project was signed 
for the purpose of land prospecting, at the end of which a report 
should be submitted, followed by studies and analyses of compliance 
with the draft project.  Once the results of the studies comply with 
the needs of the Government of Madagascar, the regulatory procedures 
related to the application to rent an estate should be initiated. 
In case there is no objection to the procedures, a contract for a 
long-term lease shall be signed for the profit of the requestor in 
exchange for the payment of an annual fee determined on the basis of 
the geographic location of the zone requested, after approval issued 
during a Cabinet Meeting. 
As to Daewoo Logistics, the procedure performed to date remains at 
the level of land prospecting, and no report, decision or lease 
contract has been submitted to or signed by the Malagasy party. 
Therefore, the information stated related to the signature of a 
contract and the free allocation of an estate is false. 
Finally, the press release from Daewoo Logistics denying the 
allocation of any land, and the official denial by the Malagasy 
Ministry of Land Reform, State Property and Development of 
Territory, are both accessible on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' 
web site. 
 
Antananarivo, December 12, 2008. 
 
END TEXT. 
 
¶2.  (SBU)  EMBASSY COMMENT:  The "Affaire Daewoo" continues to 
reverberate here and abroad, mainly for the enormous scale of the 
project initially - and evidently quite prematurely - announced by 
Daewoo in November.  Most observers here take the GOM denials at 
face value, and attribute the whole matter to Daewoo's extreme 
naivete in having concluded that a permit to look around for land 
here was anything more than the beginning of a long and still very 
uncertain process. Still, Madagascar does have great expanses of 
available, arable land, and official policy is to open it for 
development, including by foreign investors.  This incident may have 
drawn useful international attention to these long-term 
opportunities, while also highlighting the domestic political 
sensitivities to foreign control of local land and the need to - 
unlike Daewoo - move forward with discretion.  End comment. 
 
 
MARQUARDT
Original source: Wikileaks
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