Sucked Dry: Foreign Land Deals Threaten to Impair River Nile, Displace Millions

WHO OWNS THE WATERS OF THE NILE?

A yearlong cross-border data journalism investigation about large-scale foreign land deals in the Nile River basin has found that foreign investors are acquiring huge swaths of lands in the region, displacing communities and exporting profits.

Funded by the Pulitzer Center, the investigations that included reporters from major news organizations in the region including Uganda’s New Vision, Kenya’s Science Africa, South Sudan’s Juba Monitor and Egypt’s Mada Masr, among others, also found that land deals could possibly impair the river’s natural replenishing potential if water extraction is not regulated.

The investigation led by InfoNile, a collaborative cross-border group of geojournalists, in partnership with Code for Africa, was initiated using data generated by the Land Matrix, an independent global land monitoring initiative.

It indicated that up to 10.3 million hectares of land have been acquired by investors in the 11 countries that form the Nile River basin since 2000.

For the diverse peoples that live and sustain upon the Nile, the mighty life-bearing river is not only a source of livelihood, but also a cultural icon that flows with thousands of years of history, beliefs and tradition in its waters.


Check out also the interactive map on InfoNile.org of land deals based on data collected by the Land Matrix to find out which foreign land deals are in your country or community. Click on the country for country-level analysis. Zoom in and click on an individual deal for more information on a specific land acquisition.

The individual stories produced for the project include the following, with InfoNile versions also published in Arabic, Amharic and Swahili:

How Egypt’s water feeds the gulf; Mada Masr (InfoNile version)

Rose: The flower impairing Blue Nile River and communities in Ethiopia; Zehabesha (InfoNile version)

Uncertainty over laws fuel land grabs in South Sudan – Foreign investors acquired 2.5 million hectares of land since 2006; Juba Monitor (InfoNile version)

Green Horizon food security project raises wellbeing of Jebel Ladu communities while growing crops to appease South Sudan’s hunger crisis; Juba Monitor (InfoNile version)

Trapped in the Buffer Zone – Uganda forest communities cast aside in fight against climate change; New Vision (multimedia project linked here)

Yala Swamp Saga: Broken promises, idle land; Science Africa (InfoNile version)

Road River: The story of a river dried by illegal land acquisitions; Earth Journalism.net (Water Journalists Africa version)

Land grabbing and its implications for Sudanese: views from a scholar; Water Journalists Africa

Leading landless women – African rural women leaders tell their stories; Water Journalists Africa

Beyond fueling land grabs: dams and reservoirs worsen water shortages; New VisionLand grabbing worsens climate change; New Vision