Norwegian People’s Aid published an interesting report in March 2011 on land investment in South Sudan.
Written by David K. Deng, a human rights fellow at the New York University School of Law, the report provides data on 28 foreign and domestic investments planned or underway across the 10 states of South Sudan.
Between 2007 and 2010, foreign interests acquired or leased almost 3 million hectares of land in the agriculture, forestry and biofuels sectors. This constitutes a larger land area than the country of Rwanda. Adding domestic investment and those in tourism and conservation, the land under lease rises to almost 6 million hectares, or 9 percent of South Sudan’s total land area.
The single largest investment is a 2.3 million hectare lease of the entire Boma National Park by a wildlife company in the United Arab Emirates.
American companies have the next two largest leases. The Nile Trading and Development company has leased 600,000 hectares outside Juba, and Jarch Management has leased 400,000 hectares for agricultural purposes.
While these investments may contribute to South Sudan’s development, there is also a danger they will undermine local livelihoods.