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Media Advisory: Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa

Tuesday, June 7, 2011



Liam O’Donoghue, [email protected], (415) 901-0111

Brad Tucker, [email protected], (212) 584-5000


Investigations to Expose How Hedge Funds Create Volatility in Global Food Supply with Land Grabs Across Africa

Reports reveal never-before-seen materials connecting financial backers – including U.S universities and pension funds – to land deals responsible for destabilization of food prices, mass displacement and environmental damage


Oakland, CA – According to a series of investigative reports to be released on June 8 by the Oakland Institute, hedge funds and other foreign speculators are increasing price volatility and supply insecurity in the global food system. The reports are based on the actual materials from these land deals and include detailed information of investors, purchase contracts, business plans, and maps never released before now.

The “Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa” reports will also reveal that these largely unregulated land purchases are resulting in virtually none of the promised benefits for native populations, but instead are forcing millions of small farmers off ancestral lands and small, local food farms in order to make room for export commodities, including biofuels and cut flowers.

New reports and materials on these deals examine on-the-ground implications in several African nations including Ethiopia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Tanzania and South Sudan – and expose contracts that connect land grabs back to institutional investors in these nations and others. In addition to publicly sharing – for the first time - the paperwork behind these deals, the reports demonstrate how common land grabs are and how quickly this phenomenon is taking place. Investors in these deals include not only alternative investment firms like Emergent Asset Management – that works to attract speculators, but also universities including Harvard, Spellman and Vanderbilt.

In 2009 alone nearly 60 million hectares – an area the size of France – were purchased or leased in these land grabs.


WHAT: “Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa” telephone press conference for media

WHO: The investigative research team will provide an overview of main findings and answer questions.

Anuradha Mittal, the Oakland Institute executive director

Frederic Mousseau, the Oakland Institute policy director

Devlin Kuyek, GRAIN researcher

Obang Metho, Ethiopian leader in exile and member of Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia

WHEN: 11 am EDT, June 8, 2011

DIAL-IN: In the United States: call 800-894-5910, conference ID 7AFRICA

Outside the United States: call 785-424-1052, conference ID 7AFRICA

These reports, as well as briefs on other aspects of land grabs, are available at


The Oakland Institute is an independent policy think tank whose mission is to increase public participation and promote fair debate on critical social, economic, and environmental issues (