This story was originally published on the Faculty of Public Affairs website on Friday, September 20, 2019.

2019 Insight Development Grant Winners

“The Global Land Rush, Inequalities and Livelihoods: Enabling Environments for Strengthening Food Security in Ethiopia and Ghana”

For governments struggling with high levels of food insecurity—the lack of reliable access to safe, sufficient and healthy food—and other serious challenges, such as high unemployment, high inflation and a low GDP, foreign investment can seem a panacea, and in the last decade, millions of hectares of land in the global south have been sold or leased to foreign investors.

Community-based organizations and NGOs have a different take on that solution, reporting smallholders and herders losing their livelihoods amid increasing inequality.

“There’s a macro–micro divergence between two narratives,” says Logan Cochrane, Assistant Professor in Global and International Studies at the Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs.

Using a $67,330 grant, he and a fellow researcher at the University of Northern British Columbia will compare cases of failed, contested and successful foreign investments in Ethiopia and Ghana to identify laws, policies and regulations enabling investment that benefits everyone.

The complex issue requires an interdisciplinary approach, including law, business, anthropology and political science, among others: “To produce useful recommendations for decision-makers, we need to take into account everything that they need to consider.”

As Cochrane points out, with Canadian pension funds among the international investors, it’s not a distant problem. “We are all connected to this issue.”

Read the full story here.