African governments need to raise their level of accountability and ensure that they improve and protect their own food security through quid pro quo side-agreements negotiated when they lease or sell their arable land to foreign interests, says Keith Mullin of Thompson Reuters
Citadel Capital Corp., an Egyptian private-equity firm with $8.3 billion in investments, said one of its companies received a $4.9 million loan from Bank of Khartoum for the plantation of land in Sudan.
El-Nahda for Integrated Solutions signed an agreement with the White Nile Governorate for a 30-year lease on 60,000 feddans [25,210 ha] of land on which it will build a large-scale commercial rice farm.
Citadel's Karim Sadek dismisses talk of land grabbing as an “academic concern”, saying “there should definitely be a priority for the produce to be sold on the local market, if there is a paying market for it”.
“We are now looking very seriously into Sudan,” said Zouhair Eloudghiri, chief executive officer of Savola Foods Co., a unit of Saudi Arabia’s second-largest publicly traded food producer, Savola Al-Azizia United Co.
Asked why he was attracted to Sudan, where Citadel got 200,000 ha of farmland betting on a continued global commodities rally, Chairman Ahmed Heikal said: "Almost free land, available water, fantastic climate, fantastic land quality -- why not Sudan?"