Scots tycoon to invest in African tea

ONE of Scotland’s richest men has announced plans to invest a total of £7.5 million from his family’s charitable trust in the development of the tea industry in Rwanda in sub-Saharan Africa.

Sir Ian Wood, the recently retired head of energy giant the Wood Group, established the Wood Family Trust five years ago with an initial investment of £50m.

But the trust’s annual report has revealed that, as a result of continued significant contributions by the oil tycoon, estimated to be the second-richest man in Scotland, the funds in the trust now stand at approximately £114m.

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The trust, which also supports an initiative to develop tea farming by small holders in Tanzania, is already investing a total of £5.6m on a six-year project to aid 30,000 tea farmers in Rwanda by increasing their yield and income.

But Sir Ian, whose offer of a £50m gift towards the transformation of Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens was rejected last year by the city council, has now revealed that the trust is investing another £7.5m to buy the majority shareholding in two tea factories, on behalf of about 12,000 smallholder tea farmers in Rwanda.

The project is a partnership between the Wood Family Trust and the Gatsby Foundation, set up by Lord David Sainsbury.

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