Oakland Institute just completed the most thorough investigative report on who’s buying land in Africa we’ve seen yet: “Hedge Funds Grabbing Land in Africa,” as BBC called it.
As commodities prices rise and inflation picks up, the OI made the report public, they say, because the number of investors buying up land in Africa concerns them.
For obvious reasons, there isn’t much out there about who’s buying what and how much in Africa. But what OI has discovered is a small number of investors paying sometimes nothing for large plots of land in some African countries.
The lease deals are arranged between seemingly corrupt African leaders, reportedly without disclosing the details to the members of the communities that will be displaced because of the land development, and investors such as hedge fund managers.
The end result — beating villagers, digging up their cemeteries, and taking over land that villagers have lived on for centuries — looks a lot like a less cruel version of what history tells us colonizing Americans did when they ousted the Indians, according to this one report anyway.
Bruce Rastetter and his various companies are accused of breaking promises to hire locals
Who’s buying: Bruce Rastetter (CEO of Pharos Ag, co-founder of AgriSol Energy, CEO of Summit Farms, and a donor to the Iowa State University), the Iowa-based Summit Group and Global Agriculture Fund of the Pharos Financial Group, in partnership with AgriSol Energy LLC and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University, and Serengeti Advisers Limited, a Tanzanian investment and consulting firm led by Iddi Simba (non-executive director and the former Tanzanian Trade and Industry minister) and Bertram Eyakuze (partner and co-founder)
The land they’re buying: Three “abandoned refugee camps”– Lugufu in Kigoma province (25,000 ha), Katumba (80,317 ha), and Mishamo (219,800 ha), both in Rukwa province in Tanzania.
The future development: Large-scale crop cultivation, beef, and poultry production, and biofuel production. The Tanzanian government is expected to approve the title of occupancy within 3 months, which will result in the evacuation of the current inhabitants: refugees. Also, the Tanzanian government is expected to create a regulatory framework for the use of genetically modified crops.
The scandal: Some refugees apparently received citizenship in 2010, but were told that their certificates were being withheld until they re-located to other areas of Tanzania. AgriSol claims that it’s looking to hire local farm project managers to work on the project, however AgriSol told the Oakland Institute that they were bringing in white South African farm managers.
Source: Oakland Institute