Who is Jarch Capital?

Great Land Grab_Africa_Agriculture



I had missed this one when it was published a few days ago in the Financial Times.

At first the idea of ex-Intelligence and State Department folks buying up a tract of Sudanese land the size of Dubai from warlords didn’t strike me as falling into the “what a great idea!” category.

But if you check out the Jarch Capital website and the (geo)graphic to the left, it seems like all these deals could actually bring some sort of economic development and stability to the region.  If only the graft and warlord culture don’t completely thwart them.

However, I am also reminded of Jared Diamond’s discussion of the ecological sources of the Rwanda genocide in his bookCollapse, and the link that Ban Ki-moon (United Nations Secretary General) has drawn between the environmental degradation, the symptoms of global warming, and the crisis in Darfur.  Even though a massive underground lake has been discovered underneath the Darfur region, it seems like the increasingly stressed Sudanese landscape will make it hard for this venture to succeed.

However, please note this prediction attributed to Jarch Capital’s Chairman, Phillippe Heilberg, in the FT article:

Mr Heilberg “believes that several African states, Sudan included, but possibly also Nigeria, Ethiopia and Somalia, are likely to break apart in the next few years, and that the political and legal risks he is taking will be amply rewarded.”

I wonder if that one is in a National Intelligence Estimate?  I’ll have to check!

Or, it could just mean more pirates