Wheat farmers in Ethiopia

Designing Responsible Agricultural Investment Contracts in Eastern and Southern Africa

This workshop discussed how IISD’s model contract clauses can help member states of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) promote and facilitate responsible investment in agriculture.

April 18, 2024 9:00 am - 11:00 am GMT+2


More investment is needed to modernize agriculture and food systems in Eastern and Southern Africa. But for agricultural investments to advance sustainable development in the region, they need to promote inclusive land governance, improve livelihoods and food security for local populations, and enhance the productivity, sustainability, and resilience of local food systems.

IISD and the COMESA Secretariat hosted a workshop for agricultural investment negotiators, state lawyers, and policy-makers in COMESA member countries on how to design responsible investment contracts. We presented IISD’s Model Contract Clauses for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and explained how they can be used to develop templates for agricultural investment contracts that are tailored to national or regional needs and contexts.

While comprehensive and well-enforced laws are the best way to ensure investments respect the rights of legitimate tenure holders, protect the environment, create quality jobs, and contribute positively to building climate resilience, there remains a lack of robust legal frameworks for land governance in the region. Enforceable investorstate investment contracts can help address these gaps in domestic legal frameworks.

Our model contract clauses distil international guidance and principles on responsible investment in agriculture and food systems into customizable, enforceable contractual obligations. They can also help to promote coherence between global, regional, and national laws and priorities by promoting international and regional development objectives that are tailored to national legal contexts. 

Interested in what IISD’s model contract clauses can offer other regions or countries?

If you are interested in learning more about how IISD’s model contract clauses can support your country’s investment governance framework or if you would like information or advice on how to reform laws, regulations, policies, and contracts in order to promote responsible investment in agriculture and food systems, we encourage you to request IISD’s advisory and capacity development services.