Agro EcoEnergy vs. Tanzania: Land grab
Photo by CIMMYT CC BY NC SA 2.0
  • Amount demanded: Data not available
  • Outcome: Pending
  • Treaty invoked: Sweden - Tanzania BIT
  • Sector: Agriculture
  • Issue: Environment, land

by IISD (edited by

In September 2017, Swedish investor EcoDevelopment registered a claim at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes against the Tanzanian government for revoking a land title amid concerns over the impact on local communities and a wildlife sanctuary.

The project, worth USD 500 million, concerned the production of sugar cane for use as renewable fuel on 20,000 hectares of land. Government assessment reports that the investor is challenging the government’s acts and omissions, including through its failure to provide land free of encumbrances.

Reportedly, local activists opposed the project, defending the rights of some 1,300 local farmers who still used the land. This is the first known investor-state dispute against a government-linked to the so-called “land grab” phenomenon, which arose out of the 2008 food crisis, and led to a wave of investor interest in acquiring large tracts of farmland.

ActionAid, who campaigned on behalf of the communities affected by the project, argued that the land had been grabbed without their consent and that the investor failed to obtain the consent of the communities in the area affected. They also argued that the farmers had not been informed about the details of the ’outgrower’ scheme and the potential financial risks of taking out loans to start sugar production.

Last update: May 2021

source: IISD