IIED | 1 February 2010
by Lorenzo Cotula
Over the past few years, agribusiness, investment funds and government agencies have been acquiring long-term rights over large areas of land in Africa. Together with applicable national and international law, contracts define the terms of an investment project, and the way risks, costs and benefits are distributed. Who has the authority to sign the contract and through what process greatly influences the extent to which people can have their voices heard. Yet very little is known about the exact terms of the land deals.
Drawing on the legal analysis of twelve land deals from different parts of Africa, this report discusses the contractual issues for which public scrutiny is most needed, and aims to promote informed public debate about them.