Lipton is not alone. Many private, government owned, and public-private partnerships from developed and developing world realize the economic feasibility of renting African farmland. Seth Dixon's Geography Education featured a pre-2011 map showing various countries' (representing both state and private enterprises) land holdings in Africa.
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The People's Republic of China comes in second for landholdings with over 11.9 million acres (~4.8 million hectares) of farmland in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. These lands grow crops for biofuel production. China sees Africa as the place to produce a renewable Arabia of biofuels to feed its growing economy. China's many investments in making friends in Africa will be rewarded with renewable biofuels.
South Africa, South Korea, and then the United States round up the foreign owners with each one holding over a million acres acquired.
Interestingly, African countries are getting into the land renting business. South Africa's farmers' union AgriSA rents 24.7 million acres (~10 million hectares) in the Republic of Congo while Djibouti is renting in Malawi. Meanwhile Egypt rents land in Sudan as did Libya in Mali (no idea if they still do). None of the African countries, sans Egypt in Sudan which have long ties together, rent from neighbors. Perhaps the intense geopolitics of neighbors due to European-designed artificial borders in Africa makes this impossible. However, Arab-influenced Djibouti has no quarrels with states in southern Africa and majority-ruled South Africa and the Republic of Congo have never had animosity against each other. In Africa, distance makes good farmland business partners.