Land Grabs in Africa - Fueling Water and Climate crises

Two short reports on land grabs intersecting with water and climate justice produced by the Polaris Institute and the Oakland Institute.

The Role of False Climate Change Solutions

In the trend of large-scale agricultural land acquisitions in Sub-Saharan Africa “green investments” such as the production of agrofuels and agroforestry developments, are upheld as climate solutions, and are being used to justify, promote, and accelerate massive land grabs. Yet, even as research indicates that the expansion of industrial agriculture on African soil is likely to aggravate the heating of the planet, market mechanisms like carbon trade and carbon credits are providing a “green cover” for current land grabs.

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Land Grabs Leave Africa Thirsty

Cheap land and fairly easy access to water make Africa attractive for industrial agriculture. Investors see Africa as an “uncrowded space of opportunities,” and the prospect of accessing abundant water resources is a focal point in business plans. Some firms are explicit that they are as much agricultural land investors as they are investors in water supplies. Others say that they only select land which has access to water for large-scale irrigation and that land only has value if water is available. The availability of water gains further meaning as estimates show that the increased requirements for food to feed the world’s population – exceeding 7 billion – will outpace existing water resources by 40 percent by 2030.

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