A study done by the Oakland Institute claims that wealthy investors from the US and Europe are buying up large amounts of land in Africa, forcing thousands of people out of their homes.
In addition to hedge funds and speculators, several American universities, including Harvard, Vanderbilt, and Iowa universities, are also providing funds and contributing to “the conversion of African small farms and forests into a natural-asset-based, high-return investment strategy,” reports CBS. Researchers believe these investors expect returns of 20 to as much as 40 percent.
Disguised as “agricultural investments” intended to make the land more valuable, critics assert that they amount to nothing more than greedy “land grabs” that effectively displace farmers and create further instability in an already fragile African economy.
These large-scale land investments in Africa are as mysterious as they are disconcerting. Investors insist they’re intentions are strictly philanthropic, but further investigation must be done to verify the authenticity of these claims.