Ethiopia weighs benefits of foreign ‘land grabs’

In the past few years, massive amounts of land in Africa have been bought by foreign organisations.

A new report from the US-based Oakland Institute says that in 2009 alone, foreign investors bought or leased nearly 60 million hectares of land in Africa – an area about the size of France.

Hailemariam Desalegn, the deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, told the BBC the arrangement was an advantage to Ethiopia.

But critics say the process amounts to a series of “land grabs” that deprive Africa of its own natural resources.

In Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and China are planning to grow more than one million tonnes of rice in Ethiopia and take it back to their own countries.

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