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Land Deals Brief: The Myth of Economic Development

December 6, 2011


The belief that large-scale land investment in Africa will result in much needed economic development is strongly promoted by foreign investors, government officials, and international institutions. As a result, many African governments fervently encourage foreign investment in agricultural land and offer what some have called “mouthwatering” incentives to investors. Officials trust that land deals will spur growth with incoming capital, assist with infrastructure, and create employment for local people. On their part, investors reinforce these ideas with bold promises of economic development, “modernization” and numerous jobs. AgriSol Energy Tanzania LLC, for instance, claims they will transform Tanzania into a “regional agricultural powerhouse” using genetically modified crops and other technologies to increase yields.