Saudi Star lease agreement in Ethiopia

Saudi Star lease agreement in Ethiopia

The lease agreement of Saudi billionaire Al Amoudi’s Saudi Star project in Ethiopia’s Gambela province, dated 29 September 2009: 10,000 hectares over 50 years for 300,000 Ethiopian birr annually (=$15,300 in June 2014) without provision for inflation adjustment.

2 thoughts on “Saudi Star lease agreement in Ethiopia

    • Dear Gelmele,

      Thank you very much for your mail. My blogpost questions the central claim of the Harper’s article that Ethiopia would export 1 million tons of rice to Saudi Arabia, which would equal about 10 percent of the latter’s dietary requirements. Furthermore I provide some reasoning about failures of commercial agriculture in Ethiopia (e.g. Karuturi).

      At no point I deny that land grabs have happened in Ethiopia and that they have been accompanied by grievances. I mention in particular the attack on the Saudi Star project, post the lease contract of Saudi Star of which the Harper’s author has obviously been unaware and raise the possibility that its generous lease terms might have been influenced by political backroom deals. In my book I deal a bit more extensively with the villagization policies of the Ethiopian government and how they have caused human rights violations.

      Having said that Ethiopia needs to increase its agricultural productivity to feed a growing population and reduce its reliance on food aid. Its traditional agriculture has failed to achieve this. While I doubt that the solution are large scale farming projects whether they are operated by foreigners or diaspora Ethiopians, some sort of smallholder oriented agricultural modernization will be necessary.

      You do not engage with my referenced refutation of the Harper’s article’s central claim (1mn tons of rice exports). Instead you choose to question my integrity by suggesting I would be on the payroll of Al Amoudi, which I am not. I also doubt that Al Amoudi’s men would spent money on a blogpost with limited outreach that is hardly uncritical of his Saudi Star endeavor.

      I do not make a counter claim, I simply point out the bogus one in the Harper’s article, which does not help a more sober discussion about land grabs and can undermine the credibility of the very legitimate advocacy issues you are raising.

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