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Determinants and Effects of Foreign Land Acquisitions. The case of Ethiopia.

My name is Valentina and I have been working as an intern for EU About.

In 2 weeks I am going to graduate and I will discuss my thesis on Determinants and Effects of Foreign Land Acquisition. The case of Ethiopia. I know that it is not particularly related to European politics, but keep in mind that many European countries do investments on land abroad and, actually, a couple of European countries are also recipient of large-scale land acquisitions, such as Romania and Ukraine.

Hereafter I will write the introduction of my thesis, and if you might be interested, you can ask about me, Valentina Trapasso, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




The topic of foreign investment in land in the developing world is an emotive issue that has gained international attention in the past years. The sharp increase in demand for large-scale land acquisitions was first acknowledged in the context of the 2008 global crisis and its ensuing recession. These events, which, at first instance, involved developed countries, drove investors to look for alternative sources and seek ‘safer’ ventures.

A remarkable consequence has been the shift of investment capital into more profitable ventures in land, food and biofuels, as the price of agricultural commodities started to increase. The international capital markets started to gravitate towards agriculture that, since that moment, has been conceived as a rather safe investment haven for the relatively long-term. Governments, multinationals, and privates has started the so-called ‘land-rush’, buying or leasing large plot of lands.

The pace that has characterized the demand for land since 2008, as well as the global extension of the phenomenon, the size of the deals, and the long-term nature of the contacts, all make the current land rush distinctive. Therefore, lands that were previously not particularly interesting for investors, suddenly became the target of hundreds of thousands hectares contracts. Deals have taken place across the developing world countries in Asia, Latin America, and in Africa, changing the image of agriculture and land use in those areas. (Cotula 2009)

If the investments are effective, developing countries will benefit from them. Indeed, they can contribute in substantially increasing the life standard of the local communities, providing new employment opportunities, earnings, permitting also of technological spillovers and know-how development. On the other hand, these acquisitions may also have serious environmental and social consequences (Von Braun 2009). The possible risks connected to the phenomenon have created a strong opposition from numerous NGO, accusing investors of Neo-colonialism and land-grabbing and our intent is to understand how much these accuses are true.

The current thesis will provide a description of key features of large-scale land acquisition and will also discuss the findings of a systematic inventory of land deals for agricultural investments. In chapter 2, we will start providing a definition of the phenomenon, understanding if we are able to categorise it as a form of FDI and we will also describe the differences between the term “large-scale land acquisition” and “land grabbing”. In chapter 3, we will outline the facts that characterise the phenomenon according to land size, land use, land value, the investors and target countries, specifying, furthermore, the issue related to difficulties in finding real data on land acquisitions.After that, in chapter 4, we will provide a theoretical framework, using Dunning’s Eclectic Paradigm, in order to understand better the reasons why investors have started to make large-scale land acquisitions abroad. In chapter 5, we will examine the outcomes of these investments for the foreign country, the host one, the local population and the environment. Finally, in chapter 6, we will introduce the case study.

For our case study, we will analyse Ethiopia, a country that in the last years has attracted many investors from all around the world. We will provide an overall presentation of the Ethiopian territory, its economy, focusing on the agricultural sector, the land tenure and the current situation of land deals. On this aspect, we will pay attention to the features of allocations to date, including the size of the deals, the profile of investors, the main intentions, analysing, in the end, the economic, social and environmental impacts.

Ethiopia has been known as one the poorest country in the world, nearly half of the population live below the poverty line and the country faces periodically food insecurity due to drought and famine. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood, especially for that large part of the population that live rural areas and most depend on small-scale farming and herding livestock. Thanks to the analysis that we will provide it would be interesting to see if the entry of new investors can help in creating benefits such as an effective and efficient agricultural production that will make the Ethiopian communities self-sufficient.

The aim of this thesis is to examine the nature of large-scale land acquisitions, the drivers behind it, the outcomes, trying to achieve an overall understanding and developing a critical vision on the phenomenon. Our interest is to comprehend if these investments can lead to new opportunities, win-win solutions for both investors and target countries and, if not, which are the possible strategies to implement in order to obtain some benefits.

Concerning the case study, the purpose is to comprehend why Ethiopia has been chosen as a target for these type of investments, the investment climate of the country, and what are the main impacts from land acquisitions. In particular, it would be interesting to understand the role of the Government in the decision making process, if it has a passive role or if it promotes land deals as a way to achieve poverty reduction through large-scale projects on lands. Finally, it is also interesting to understand the role played by multinational enterprises in the development process of the country if any, and the role of local communities that, at first glance, seem to be the most affected actors by the entry of these type of investments.

investing in europe's youth - european solidarity corps launched



On 7 December 2016, the European Commission adopted two communications on investing in Europe's youth and launching the European Solidarity Corps.

Investing in Europe's Youth

While youth unemployment has dropped to 18.5% in 2016 from a peak of 23.9% in 2013, the fight against youth unemployment remains a priority.

The Communication on Investing in Europe's Youth proposes a renewed effort to support young people.

Through the European Semester of economic policy coordination, the EU supports Member State policies on employment, education, training and youth. EU Structural and Investments Funds reinforce these efforts. The Youth Guarantee schemes, launched in 2013 and backed by €6.4 billion of EU funds, has helped 9 million young people find work.

Investment in skills and competences is crucial to integrate young people into the job market. Vocational education and training systems have proved particularly important since the crisis and the Commission recognises the active engagement of social partners in this area. Two EU initiatives the European Alliance for Apprenticeships and European Pact for Youth have mobilised over 500,000 training and job opportunities in the form of commitments from companies and organisations.

The Erasmus+ programme offers a wide range of opportunities to young people and is expected to support 4 million people by 2020.

European Solidarity Corps

First announced in September 2016, the European Solidarity Corps is now open for registrations.

The initiative will give young people aged 18 to 30 the opportunity to work on solidarity projects around Europe. It aims to inspire young people for the common good and provide them with valuable skills and experience.

Participants can be placed with solidarity project as a volunteer, trainee, apprentice or employee.

Solidarity projects may include:

  • education
  • health
  • social integration
  • assistance in the provision of food
  • shelter construction
  • reception, support and integration of migrants and refugees
  • environmental protection
  • prevention of natural disasters (excluding immediate response)
  • Young people interested in the scheme can register online.

To register click here: https://europa.eu/youth/solidarity







This article presents a statistical view of the Europe 2020 strategy of the European Union (EU), aimed at creating a smarter, greener and more inclusive economy and society. Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU, has created eight headline indicators and three sub-indicators to monitor progress towards the strategy targets. A comprehensive overview of available data can be found in the online publication Smarter, greener, more inclusive - indicators to support the Europe 2020 strategy, also downloadable as PDF file.

The Europe 2020 strategy

As a leading provider of official statistics on the European Union (EU) and in response to the growing interest in data on the Europe 2020 strategyEurostat produces and disseminates statistical data to support the strategy. Progress towards the Europe 2020 targets is monitored by means of nine headline indicators and additional sub-indicators. Data on the headline indicators are disseminated through a Dedicated section on the Eurostat website.

In late 2013, Eurostat introduced a new type of ‘flagship publication’ with the aim of providing statistical analyses related to important European Commission policy frameworks or important economic, social or environmental phenomena. The purpose of the first of these flagship publications – entitled ‘Smarter, greener, more inclusive? — Indicators to support the Europe 2020 strategy’ – was to provide statistical support for the Europe 2020 strategy and to back-up the monitoring of its headline targets. An updated 2015 edition of the publication was published in March 2015, looking into past trends, generally since 2002 or 2008, up to the most recent year for which data are available (2012 or 2013).

The Europe 2020 strategy, adopted by the European Council on 17 June 2010, is the EU’s agenda for growth and jobs for the current decade. It emphasises smart, sustainable and inclusive growth as a way to overcome the structural weaknesses in Europe’s economy, improve its competitiveness and productivity and underpin a sustainable social market economy.

In the EU policy context there is a synergy between the Europe 2020 strategy and the long-term strategy of the EU – the Sustainable development strategy (SDS). Europe 2020 headline indicators are a core part of the indicators monitored by Eurostat in the publicationSustainable development in the European Union - Monitoring report of the EU sustainable development strategy.

The key objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy are expressed in the form of five headline targets at the EU level:

The EU headline targets have been translated into national targets, as defined in the National Reform Programmes. These reflect each Member State’s situation and the level of ambition they are able to reach as part of the EU-wide effort for implementing the Europe 2020 strategy.


Europe 2020 headline indicators, EU-28, 2008-13 

Source: Eurostat (see Dedicated section)

See also

Further Eurostat information


Main tables

Dedicated section

Methodology / Metadata

Other information

External links


Source: http://ec.europa.eu/



The Erasmus+ Programme Guide is the key document for anybody who would like to have a thorough knowledge of the Erasmus+ programme.

Participants and participating organisations can find full details of all the opportunities supported by Erasmus+.

The 2017 Programme Guide is also available as an online version, with a more user friendly, accessible format to make it easier to find information.

What exactly are we celebrating in Belgium on the 21st of July?

 commission fete nationale banniere


Belgium National Day is the date in which the independence of the country is celebrated. But what exactly happened on the 21st of July?

If Belgium broke away from the Netherlands in 1830, the date of the Belgian National Holiday actually refers to 1831. In February of that year, the National Congress adopted a new constitution that was considered progressive at that time. But the event that is commemorated on that date is the day in which Leopold of Saxe-Cobourg swore allegiance to this constitution. By doing so, he became the first monarch of the newly independent Belgium and governed its parliamentarian monarchy.

For the anecdote, before Leopold of Saxe-Cobourg became monarch of Belgium, he refused another job offer. Indeed, after the Greek war (1821-32) he was offered to rule as monarch of Greece, but the country was still volatile and not yet stabilized due to risks of turmoil with the Turks, hoping to gain back ground, and European powers reluctant to give their full support to the new Kingdom, Leopold declined the offer.

Today, 185 years later, celebrations are organised in Brussels to celebrate the event. If you are in Brussels check out the program and don’t miss anything!

Parc de Bruxelles

Opening of the Chamber of Representatives and Senate to the public from 11a.m. until 7p.m.

Reconstitution of a military camp by the 101st Airborne with WWII vehicles.

Concert at the kiosk at 12, 5 pm and 8:30 pm

Steam train ride for kids at 10 am and 8pm

1914 military camp proposed by the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History

Place Royale

Brussels Info Place (BIP) : exposition "Experience Brussels" from 10 am until 3pm and from 5 pm until 8 pm, wooden toys from 10 am until 23 pm    

European village: The European Commission invites you to discover Europe.

Opening of St. Jacques sur Coudenberg Church to the public from 10 am until 3 pm

La Défense I: camouflage, demining , F16 cockpit flight simulator UAV drone , the Navy stand…

Place des Palais

Military and civilian parade at 4 pm.

Fireworks at 11 pm.

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