by Oscar Perry Abello
All across sub-Saharan Africa, elected officials are taking advantage of the legal vacuum for property rights in their countries. Governments are selling off land to foreign investors looking to profit from increased biofuel demand and food shortages. While the investment will bring jobs and productive capacity, these governments are granting property rights to foreigners without regard or compensation for rural entrepreneurs that have lived and worked the land for generations.
Property rights are only the beginning of problems facing rural entrepreneurs, and nonprofits are on the front-lines of their struggles, giving rural entrepreneurs a larger presence as a political constituency. The Private Enterprise Foundation (PEF) is an umbrella group of business organizations that has several programs designed to bring rural entrepreneurs into the political process. You can find a detailed look at PEF's efforts here.
Business associations are not typically thought of as nonprofits, but they are community builders and political advocates like others. Their focus is simply the community of for-profit enterprises, which happens to include rural entpreneurs/farmers/three-