US: Universities in 'scary' African land deals

Some prominent American universities and pension funds, among other wealthy foreign investors, are allegedly purchasing huge tracts of land in Africa - acts that may lead to the eviction of thousands of local farmers, according to a study by the Oakland Institute, a California-based think tank, reports International Business Times.

US educational institutions, including Harvard University, as well as pension funds, are using UK hedge funds and European financial speculators to acquire large agricultural properties on the African continent. Many of these lands are being taken in order to develop biofuel production, in place of normal food production.

Oakland Institute said in the report that the investors have little or no accountability in these transactions, while providing them with greater control over food supply for the world's poor. "This is very, very scary," said Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of Oakland Institute, which looked at such transactions in seven African countries: Ethiopia, Mali, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia. According to the Guardian newspaper, a spokesman for Emergent, a London-based firm through which the deals are conducted, defended the transactions.
Full report on the International Business Times site
Full report on the Guardian site