Panel 24: POLITICAL ECONOMY – Partnerships and Business Models

Faced with ongoing challenges of rural poverty and the need to promote national economic development, African governments in particular are looking for new ways to promote external investment in agriculture, increasingly in the form of commercial partnerships with local communities. While these initiatives may fall short of outright alienation of land from traditional rights-holders, they inevitably imply some loss of access or control.

Case studies from Ethiopia and two from South Africa examine a range of partnership-type initiatives, critically assessing the implications for investors, the state and internally-differentiated communities. Wider issues of foreign direct investment in developing countries are also considered, along with the regulation and code of conduct applying to the internationalisation of developing countries? agricultural production. Key questions for all papers are whether the emerging forms partnership and FDI can deliver on their social and economic promises, locally and nationally, and, crucially, whether they constitute a more subtle form of „land grab?.

Chair: Edward Lahiff, University of Cork

Kathleen Guillozet