Agro-Imperialism in the New York Times

In case you missed it, check out Andrew Rice’s piece on land grabs in Africa- a very new and potentially troubling consequence of our globalized economy- in the New York Times Magazine. Rice touches on some of the same things I’ve seen during my trip to sub-Saharan Africa—Chinese and the Middle Eastern investment in not only road construction, but also agricultural land, particularly in Ethiopia and Kenya. According to Rice, the global economic and food crises have spurred countries like China, Saudi Arabia, and India to invest heavily in African land. By controlling the areas of production, they hope to secure future supplies of food for their own populations. But as sub-Saharan Africa faces increasing hunger—at least 23 million people in the Horn of Africa are at risk of starvation—its role as a food exporter becomes increasingly hard to justify. And this increasing foreign investment in African land has largely stayed under the global radar. Stay tuned for more on land grabs in the upcoming State of the World 2011.

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