The Oakland Institute, an independent U.S. policy think tank whose mission is to increase public debate on critical social, economic and environmental issues has been studying the issue of long-term land leases in Africa. Ethiopia is one of the first countries that it studied. For its reporting, which tends to be critical of Ethiopian government policies, click here. The Oakland Institute on 19 March 2012 sent an Open Letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Hailemariam Desalegn responding to an earlier communication from the Ministry concerning the Institute's analysis of the situation in Ethiopia.
The Oakland Institute in its Open Letter commended the decision by the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture to suspend land allocations for investment purposes until it has time to make further assessments. The decision by the Ministry of Agriculture is contained in an article in the 19 March issue of The Reporter titled "Ethiopia Suspends Providing Agriculture Land for Investment." Assuming The Reporter article is accurate, this is a fascinating development concerning a controversial issue in Ethiopia and a number of other African countries.