More than a decade has passed since the triple crises of food, energy and finance in the period 2007–2008. Those events turned global investor interest to agriculture and its commodities and thereafter the leasing of tens of millions of hectares of land. This article reviews and synthesizes the available evidence regarding the agricultural investments that have taken place in Ethiopia since that time. We use a systematic review approach to identify literature from the Web of Science and complement that with additional literature found via Google Scholar. Qualitative and quantitative methods are used to analyze the available literature. In so doing, we raise questions of data quality, by analyzing the evidence base used by many studies (the Land Matrix database) and compare it with data we obtained from the Government of Ethiopia. We find that while the Land Matrix is the largest available database, it appears to present only a fraction of the reality. In critically assessing the literature, we identify areas that have been under-researched or are missing from the literature, namely assessments of gendered impacts, the role of diaspora and domestic investors, interdisciplinary approaches (e.g., integrating climate change, biodiversity, and water), and studies that move beyond technical assessment, such as looking at the impacts on traditional knowledge and socio-cultural systems.
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