Landgrabbing or reasonable investments?

This project is supported by our academic partner GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies and the researcher Kerstin Nolte.

Since 2000, about 26.7 Million hectares of land have been purchased by international investors in developing countries and emerging markets. This equals about two percent of agriculturally useful soil or the size of the United Kingdom plus Slovenia.
Some people call this landgrabbing and point to the non-transparent processes and the negative consequences for poor countries of origin. Contracts are brokered quite often behind closed doors and the previous land owners don’t take part in these negotiations. When small farmers get displaced, they very often lose their livelihood.


Others, on the contrary, speak of essential investments for the underfinanced agriculture and stress the chances for these countries. Often the local infrastructure like roads, schools and hospitals benefit from these investments. Jobs are created and the markets get closer to the small farmers. As a result, the farmers have a better and quicker access to seeds and fertilisers.


Those are two positions of the extreme and the truth is somewhere to be found in the middle. The investments must be checked individually to make a judgement on them.


In which context should investments be made and how should the people affected by it participate in the negotiations?



The team of the ZBW Leibniz Information Center for Economics gathered a selection of related literature on this list. You can search for more information and literature at Econbiz. We also put together some more tips for researching (in German).

YES! Teams


Logo Helene-Lange-Gymnasium Rendsburg
YES! Team Helene-Lange-Gymnasium Rendsburg

The topic “Landgrabbing or reasonable investments? ” can be selected by YES!  teams from the region North as a YES! 2017 topic.


This topic has been selected to work on by the YES! teams of the Helene-Lange-Gymnasium Rendsburg and the Gymnasium Kronwerk Rendsburg.


Learn more about the YES! 2017 team of the Helene-Lange-Gymnasium Rendsburg here on their profile page.

Academic Partner


Logo GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies Hamburg

The project “Landgrabbing or reasonable investments? ” was proposed by researchers of the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies and the researcher Kerstin Nolte.

Joint Project of

The YES! – Young Economic Summit is a joint project of the  ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics and the Joachim Herz Stiftung in Hamburg.


The ZBW is the world’s largest information centre for economic literature and excellently positioned to help students gain information literacy and provide relevant resources.


The Joachim Herz Stiftung is economically independent and politically neutral. The foundation has a wide experience in developing ideas and implementing projects for young people, in particular on economic education.

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Laura Bickel
Project Manager
t: +49 (0) 431 8814 359

Portrait Kai Meinke

Kai Meinke
Project Manager
t: +49 (0) 431 8814 643

Photo credits (top to bottom): (c) / Attasit Ketted, (c) IfW – Kiel Institute for the Economy, (c) / Jacek Rogoz, (c) ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft, (c) Joachim Herz Stiftung.