Assessing international investments in agriculture: A systems perspective


Ay?en Tanyeri-Abur (Northeastern University, Boston, USA) and Nasredin Elamin (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa)

Paper prepared for presentation at the 119th EAAE Seminar ‘Sustainability in the Food Sector: Rethinking the Relationship between the Agro-Food System and the Natural, Social, Economic and Institutional Environments’, Capri, Italy, June, 30th – July, 2nd, 2010

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In the wake of the food crisis of 2007, land and water have emerged as new asset classes for international investments. Resource-seeking investments will reshape the agro-food systems of host countries, with important

potential repercussions on overall economic development, institutions, regional integration, environment, food

availability and diets. Some of these changes will have wider global impacts, with respect to trade, migration and future investment opportunities.

The paper attempts to present an integrated look at international investments in agriculture from a systems

perspective, focusing on Arab investments in Sudan. In particular, the paper:

• Provides a brief overview of the systems framework in the context of international investments

• Presents the foreign direct investments in Sudan using a systems approach, focusing on the historical,

ecological, social and economic context of the agro-food systems,

• Proposes an agenda for research, consultation and policy.

Given the paucity of data on agricultural investments, the diverse concerns of the various stakeholders, and the

multi-faceted nature of the impacts, assessing investments is not an easy task. The paper develops a framework to better understand the problems and issues surrounding FDI in Sudan to open the way for trans-disciplinary dialogue to develop ecologically sound, economically efficient and socially fair investment alternatives and policy strategies.
Original source: EAAE Seminar

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