Foreign investors often blamed for Africa land grabs conducted by local ruling elites

Reuters | 27 March 2014

A worker irrigates a sugarcane plantation at Kenana Sugar Company main plant, south of Khartoum in South Sudan. May 14, 2013. (Photo: REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

 by Kayode Ogunbunmi
 WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Policymakers and media organisations are ignoring the fact that African middle classes and local ruling elites are the biggest drivers of the transfer of land ownership on the continent over the last few years, rather than foreign investors, experts said.
The focus on large-scale overseas investors is distracting from the real story that mid-sized farmers are behind agricultural growth in Africa, and this has policy implications which are not being addressed.
 “The foreign land grab is one issue but it pales in comparison to domestic investment in land,” said Thomas Jayne, a professor at Michigan State University.  “There has not been much documentation of this trend until recently, but this incontrovertible data is coming in from the countries,” he said….

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