Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
13-05: Screening Prospective Investors
Friday, 24/Mar/2017:
9:00am - 10:30am

Location: MC 7-100

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ID: 236 / 13-05: 1
Individual Papers
Oral Presentation
Topics: Academic research on land governance / rigorous impact evaluations

Screening Prospective Investors

William Speller1, Hafiz Mirza1, Asuka Okumura2, Paul Gardner Yvelin De Beville2, Duncan Pringle2, Chris Brett2

1UNCTAD, Switzerland; 2World Bank, USA

Financial and operational success is an essential pre-condition for agricultural investments to make a positive contribution to development. Yet a significant proportion of investors fail, many for reasons that should have been foreseen at the outset of the project. And there is great variation in the extent to which investments deliver development benefits. This underscores the importance of sound pre-screening procedures by host country governments when approached by investors.

The pre-screening capacity and procedures of host governments may not be sufficiently functional to successfully screen out investors with unrealistic business models. There appears to be a dearth of guidance available to governments on how to effectively screen out investors that have deficiencies in their plans, and screen in investors that make a positive contribution to the country's development goals. A frequent weakness pre-investment procedures is a failure to properly assess the land tenure implications. This can occur due to lax due diligence on the part of investors, or due to weaknesses in host country land legislation or application thereof. This Master Class will focus on how governments may improve their screening system, with an emphasis on addressing risks related to access to land for land-based investments.

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