Responsible agribusiness in Ethiopia. The contribution of European entrepreneurs in sustainable local development.
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In the past two decades Ethiopia has engaged in a modernization process to achieve socio-economic development. Possessing vast reserves of fertile agricultural land and water sources, Ethiopia has become one of the top five destinations for commercial agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. Its ambitious policies place agricultural development at the core of this modernization process. In this developmental path the private sector has gained significant ground as a driver of development complementing government activities and interventions. However the investment boom of the past decade is not undisputed especially in light of critical reports exposing cases of population displacements and human rights violations. As European investors have a significant share in the foreign investments implemented in the Ethiopian agricultural sector in the past years it becomes of vital importance to examine their activities and make an assessment of their contribution to local development. This study examines a sample of European companies in the Ethiopian agricultural sector through the lens of theories on responsible business and sustainable entrepreneurship. Through a survey and in-depth interviews the study looks into social, environmental and economic aspects of entrepreneurial activity. The results are mostly qualitative and highlight different perspectives of European involvement in the country and critically discuss their contribution to sustainable local development.