The African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will on 4 and 5 October 2011 in Nairobi (Kenya), co-organize a high level Forum on foreign direct investments in agricultural land in Africa.
Over the two days, the Forum participants will share information and experiences on foreign direct investment in land in Africa, develop an African perspective on land-based investments in Africa and; propose a framework of concrete interventions for the implementation of the AU declaration on land issues.
The Forum which is co-sponsored by CODA will bring together land experts, African Ministers in charge of land, traditional rulers, parliamentarians, representatives of CSOs, farmers' organizations, eminent personalities, women organizations, private sector practitioners, centers of excellences as well as development partners, to discuss issues relating the above-mentioned objectives.
According to a joint study by the FAO, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), since 2004 there has been nearly 2.5 million hectares worth of "approved land allocations" in just five African countries.
This fast evolving phenomenon creates opportunities, challenges and risks. Increased investment may bring macro-level benefits (GDP growth, increased government revenues) and create opportunities for raising local living standards. On the other hand, large-scale land acquisitions can result in local people losing access to their sovereign resources. It can also pose environmental risks, and result in biodiversity loss and social conflicts.
Consequently, the currently unfolding land investment story reflects deep global economic and social transformations, with profound implications for the future of Africa's agriculture.
An Action Plan to address this issue is expected from the Forum.