The Oakland Institute, which has been producing some critical reports on land grabs in Africa, reports how the Ministry of Agriculture in Ethiopia has suspended land allocations to take time for assessment.
Every once in a while things happen and you know that you are doing your job.
Last week the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Ethiopia issued an incredibly defensive, attacking press release that targets the Oakland Institute as launching a ‘crusade’ against their development efforts. (See http://www.mfa.gov.et/Press_Section/Week_Horn_Africa_March_09_2012.htm#9)
Today the Ministry of Agriculture has suspended land allocations to take time for assessment. (See
Oakland Institute welcomes the announcement by the Ministry of Agriculture that it will reassess its policies promoting land investments. However, we ask for a full-scale transparent investigation to be completed by an independent committee comprised of media, academic experts, and civil society members from Africa and beyond. Secondly, we believe that such an assessment will need that all Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIAs) for large-scale land deals be made available to the public. Such documents are essential information for communities to be able to give free and informed consent prior to the investments moving forward.
And lastly, we respectfully ask that the Ministry also backs its claims that its land lease scheme in lower Omo and elsewhere will actually result in accelerated and sustainable development to end poverty in Ethiopia. More concretely, it is essential that accounting of revenue garnered through such land deals be reflected in the federal and state budget and made available for review to ascertain the much-hailed benefits of large land deals and to determine what contribution is being made to the national economy and its trickle down effect.
Read Oakland Institute's Open Letter to the Government of Ethiopia here: http://oaklandinstitute.org/open-letter-government-ethiopia
* The Oakland Institute is an independent policy think tank whose mission is to increase public participation and promote fair debate on critical social, economic and environmental issues.