The geographic and sectoral patterns of large-scale farmland investments in sub-Saharan Africa

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Following the food and energy price crises of the mid 2000s, sub-Saharan Africa has become one of the largest recipients for large-scale farmland investments. While much has been written on the phenomenon, scant reliable empirical evidence is available as to the precise geographic and sectoral patterns and underlying drivers. Employing strict data quality requirements, this paper addresses these knowledge gaps by analyzing 563 farmland projects that have been established between 2005 and 2013 in sub-Saharan Africa. Findings show that the investment intensity and associated risks are not geographically uniform. Moreover, the study highlights a number of popular misconceptions regarding investor origin and their sectoral interests and motives.

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