Large-scale land grabbing has been widely discussed and studied. Considerable research has shed light on the impact of land grabs on populations, the environment and local economies, the motivations of new investors (food supply, speculation), these investors’ origins, and the dubious arrangements they have been able to make with African political leaders. In this brief, we wish to place this phenomenon in perspective with a trend that extends far beyond the agricultural sector but to which the sector is generally subject: the race for foreign direct investment (FDI). Since the 1990s, modelling themselves after certain emerging countries, many political leaders and actors in Africa have seen and promoted FDI as one of the primary keys to development. Here, based on several recent publications, we attempt to describe the reasons behind this ‘FDI rush’, some of its concrete manifestations, and some of the doubts and worries about FDI, especially in the agricultural sector.
Read the brief (8p.)