Few Benefits, Huge Risks: Taking Stock of the Global Land Rush




04:00 p.m. (UTC)


04:45 p.m. (UTC)

A tractor works on a wheat plantation on land that used to be virgin Amazon rainforest near the city of Santarem.
© Reuters / Nacho Doce

  • Since the surge of large-scale land acquisitions by international investors starting a decade ago, the Land Matrix Initiative has recorded land deals with a staggering total contract size of 30 million hectares. In its third Analytical Report, the Land Matrix Initiative assesses the wide-ranging impacts of these land acquisitions on people’s livelihoods, on land tenure, and on the environment.

    Some of the conclusions are alarming: The non-consensual and uncompensated loss of land experienced by local communities often comes with few socio-economic benefits – be they employment, newly introduced technologies, or infrastructure. Beyond economic woes, these large-scale land acquisitions destroy rainforests, natural habitats, and biodiversity. The report clearly shows the urgent need to rethink and transform current practices of large-scale land acquisitions into responsible and sustainable contributions to economic and social development.

    Welcome note: Nora Boehm is Senior Policy Officer for land-related issues at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

    Speaker: Apl. Prof. Jann Lay is Lead Research Fellow at the GIGA Institute for African Affairs and Head of the GIGA Research Programme “Globalisation and Development.” He is a member of the Land Matrix Steering Committee and a co-author of the report.

    Discussants: Constanze von Oppeln is Program Manager at Welthungerhilfe.

    Berns Komba Lebbie is National Coordinator of Land for Life in Sierra Leone.

    Moderator: Dr. Christoph Kubitza is Research Fellow at GIGA Institute for Asian Studies and co-author of the report.

    The GIGA is taking the coronavirus situation very seriously. Until further notice, all our events take place exclusively in digital space and Team GIGA is working from home. We are pleased to be able to offer you all GIGA products without restriction.


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