Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Friday, March 1, 2013

Retrospective review of private and public sector agribusiness investments in Africa

Investments in Agribusiness: A Retrospective View of a Development Bank’s Investments in Agribusiness in Africa and East Asia. Research paper
Authors: Geoff Tyler and Grahame Dixie
Date of publication: 10/2012
Organization of reference: World Bank

While there are some very good and very bad agribusiness investments the general view is that the majority create a mixture of positive and negative impacts. 

The positives are mainly related to economic development in terms of jobs and access to markets, but often also include some investments in social infrastructure, improved access to rural infrastructure, the transfer of useful technologies and skills, and in a smaller number of projects, increased production of staple foods. 

The negatives are most often associated with a lack of consultation with the communities concerned, limited transparency, an absence of mechanisms for resolving disputes, and issues involving land rights – especially informal land rights. Negative impacts may also be seen in irresponsible environmental practices and in the social and economic consequences if the investment fails. 

In view of these concerns over the risks associated with increased interest in larger-scale investment in agricultural land, a retrospective review of a large number of private and public sector agribusiness investments was commissioned to generate objective empirical knowledge about outcomes; to differentiate between alternative business models; to provide insights into the likely correlates of success and failure over time; and to deliver this knowledge into the public domain.

This study analyses the experience of the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) as an investor in commercial smallholder and estate agriculture and agro-processing in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia and the Pacific between 1948 and 2000."

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