World Radio Switzerland | Tuesday, 16 February 2010
It’s the largest agricultural investment ever in the West African nation of Sierra Leone—and a Swiss firm is behind it. Addax Bioenergy, based in Geneva, just signed a deal that will allow it to produce 100,000 cubic meters of bioethanol from sugar cane within the next two years alone.
In Sierra Leone, people are enthusiastic and looking forward to more jobs and benefits. This deal also suggests that Switzerland won’t be left behind in the race for productive land on the African continent.
In the last four years, an area the size of Germany has been bought or rented to produce food and fuel in Africa. But not by Africans, nor for Africans, say critics. They worry that virtually no safeguards are in place to prevent such investments from turning into land grabs. Lucas Chambers has the story:Play audio