Jonah Wedekind

Address External PhD research student
graduating at the Humboldt-University of Berlin

Doctoral research study

"The Political Ecology of Agrarian Change in Ethiopia: large-scale agricultural investments and institutional shifts in rural resource governance"

Land grabbing has become a popular term since at least 2007/08, when sky rocketing food and fuel prices were followed by a rush of investors for agricultural land in the Global South, particularly in Africa, and indeed Ethiopia is very often associated with the phenomenon in the media. We often hear that foreign investors, especially from fast-developing countries like China, India or food-scarce countries like Saudi Arabia are the dominant investors in Ethiopia. But this picture is not entirely accurate. While I do not want to understate the rush of foreign investors into Ethiopia, I want to stress that the role of the state and national elites in maintaining and gaining control over access to land and labor must not be ignored. But far less work has been done to try to get the facts right on the social and economic impacts of land grabbing, or for that matter to try to explain the diverse political reactions that unfold at different scales and spaces in different societies. My doctoral research investigates large-scale land leases for biofuel-crop production and related agrarian changes to land and labour relations in Ethiopia.