Presented at the third meeting of the SIANI Expert Group on Chinese land investments in Africa’s response to large-scale land acquisitions
Date: Wednesday 9, May 2012 Time 10:00 – 14:30
Venue: Library @ Stockholm Environment Institute, Kräftriket 2b, Stockholm
Peter Roberntz, from the WWF Sweden: “An attempt to summarize four years of listening to different voices in East Africa”. Peter will be talking about his personal observations and reflections on the different voices regarding land acquisition in East Africa in general and biofuels in particular. He will try to condense the information received over the last 4 years working with his colleagues across the region and having attended numerous meetings on the topic with different stakeholders including companies and government officials.
General background to the Seminar:
Land and water acquisitions in Africa are highly topical in the development discussions today. The processes of land acquisition and the size of agricultural transferred so far have taken many by surprise. As a result of this fast track, discussions and knowledge about the different aspects of the processes are highly precursory. At the basic levels of information and data there are highly variable data sets. Size of land leased, terms/nature of the contracts and allocation procedures are not well documented for many of the land and water transfers. At the description level, there are diverse perspectives in use. ‘Land grabbing’, ‘land outsourcing’, ‘developmental outsourcing’, ‘land-based investment’, etc, are in use to describe the current land acquisitions in Africa by foreign companies and States. Another major challenge or gap in the current academic discussions on land acquisition in Africa is that sufficient attention has not been given to how Africa itself is responding to the ongoing land acquisitions. This could range from local interactions (both conflicts and cooperation) to high-level policy orientation, adjustment and revisions. What agency and roles has Africa? Is Africa simply passive in the current land acquisitions? Or are there emerging processes and adjustments in land acquisitions? What differences can we observe among African countries? Etc. The focus of this Expert Seminar is to highlight and exchange ideas and experiences around these topics.