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Citadel Capital/Concord Irrigated Crops in Unity State, South Sudan


Citadel Capital is Egypts largest private equity company. In 2007 it launched the Wafra Fund to invest in agriculture in Sudan, in which the company's holdings have since increased to three distinct sites and companies. In South Sudan, Wafra acquired a 25-year lease on 105,000 ha through its subsidiary, Concord, previously known as the Sudanese Egyptian Agricultural Crops Company (SEAC). The land was community land which, according to the 2009 Land Act, is to be state-recognized, but the area was nonetheless treated as state-owned and the lease was negotiated directly with the state government; entirely without involvement of the local people. The annual US$125,000 in rent is paid directly to the state government as well, with none of the investment benefiting the local community. Concord executives said their investment has brought health care, jobs, and increased food security to the region, but locals disagree, citing a mostly closed health clinic with a single nurse, 15-20 sporadic jobs, and no sign of produce remaining in the local market. In 2011 the Oakland Institute (OI) recorded locals threatening protest if more jobs did not materialize as promised, but no follow-up studies have documented actions. Although Concord told the OI that the company would develop land around populated areas, in a 'checkerboard pattern' without resettling the existing community, there is no legally binding contract to hold the company to their promise, nor was a proper ESIA completed. In November 2011, the US governments Overseas Private Investment Corporation provided Citadel with a US$150-million loan package to help expand its subsidiaries – $115 million of which was earmarked for crop production in South Sudan. Due to heavy flooding in 2012 only 1050 ha were planted for the 2013 season – and bad weather severely impacted this harvest. Regardless, the project expects to expand by implementing a large-scale irrigation/drainage infrastructure mechanism, and increasing the amount of land planted in the 2013-14 season.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Citadel Capital/Concord Irrigated Crops in Unity State, South Sudan
Country:South Sudan
State or province:Unity State (Welayet Al-Wehda)
Location of conflict:Gwit and Pariang counties
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Dams and water distribution conflicts
Land acquisition conflicts
Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Specific commodities:Sunflower, Sorgum
Fruits and Vegetables

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

Citadel pays the state government US$125,000 a year to rent the land. The acreage is under a no-tillage agriculture system, using large amounts of Roundup ™ to control weeds. The 60 or so staff are mostly Zimbabwean, not South Sudanese; 15 or 20 local people are employed as casual laborers on an as-needed basis and without contract.

Project area:259,500
Level of Investment:24,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:1,250
Start of the conflict:2009
Company names or state enterprises:Citadel Capital (Citadel) from Egypt
Concord Agriculture
El Nahda for Integrated Solutions
Sudanese Egyptian Agricultural Crops Company (SEAC)
Relevant government actors:State Government of South Sudan
International and Finance InstitutionsOverseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Oakland Institute,, Norwegian People’s Aid,

Conflict and Mobilization

Reaction stageUnknown
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Land dispossession


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:In operation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The project continues.

Sources and Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

The Land Act, 2009

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Norwegian People's Aid, 2011, 'The new Frontier'


Oakland Institute, 2011, 'Understanding Land Deals in Africa – Country Report: South Sudan'

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

, 'South Sudaneese fear impact of farming deals'

, 'OPIC approves $150 mln in financing for Egypts Citadel'

, 'Wafra Portfolio Company to build Sudans first large-scale commercial rice farm'

Citadel Capital, 'WAFRA'

Other comments:Citadel Captial Holdings lists some 19 companies on their website, ranging from energy to shipping to agriculture to mining. The site in South Sudan uses the local port for export, which is owned by Keer Marine, A Citadel Capital company. The local population is 1250 (pastoralist populations) according to Concord, but the total population in Gwit is 33000 according to Norwegian Peoples Aid and 82000 in Pariang.
Wafra intends to expand. From their website (October 7, 2013): 'Wafra continues to explore complementary regional development initiatives and expects to develop into a significant player in the agriculture sector.' However, also from their website: 'Management bandwidth has been under strain since the events of the Arab Spring as the region copes with increased social unrest and a less-troublefree environment.' Communication regarding the project has been sporadic since the events in 2011.

Meta information

Contributor:Aliza Tuttle
Last update24/06/2014