Resources africa

Land Squeeze: The hidden battle for Africa’s soils

Land grabbing is not just back with a vengeance. It is taking on new guises such as carbon offsets, green hydrogen schemes, and other “green grabs”. In recent years, Africa has been at the epicentre of an alarming global trend: the land squeeze. The 2007-8 global financial crisis unleashed …

Atlas of a territory in transition: A look at the Senegal River delta

The Senegal River Valley has a clear agricultural vocation. Developed by riverside populations for decades, its biophysical conditions offer significant potential for hydro-agricultural, fisheries, and pastoral development. The delta, which forms the western part of the region, is a unique area. Since the 1960s, public authorities have focused on supporting …

Loggers have ‘grabbed’ around 1m hectares of Indigenous land in DRC

Author: Josh Gabbatiss
Published: 12 March 2024
Source: Carbon Brief

Logging companies have “acquired” roughly 1m hectares of Indigenous peoples’ territory in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 2000, according to a new study.

This is part of a wider trend in which companies and governments take advantage of …

Large-scale acquisitions of communal land in the Global South: Assessing the risks and formulating policy recommendations

Authors: Jorge A. Rincón Barajas, Christoph Kubitza and Jann Lay
Published: 2024
Source: Land Use Policy

This research by Land Matrix partner GIGA conceptualises and empirically assesses the socioeconomic and environmental risks of large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) for communal lands in the Global South. These risks include the displacement of …

Country profile: Kenya

Of the total land area of Kenya, only around 10% is classified as arable land, with the 14 recorded concluded deals in the Land Matrix database equalling just 0.46% of the total land area. Although this is a relatively small land footprint, these deals may still have significant implications for …

Story map: How satellites can locate potential land grabs in Africa

Author: Konrad Hentze
Published: 2023
Source: Remote Sensing Research Group (University of Bonn)

This storyline gives an overview of current land grabbing databases, their lack of spatial information, and how remote sensing datasets can overcome this lack when being used to detect large scale agricultural production schemes.

View the story …

Call for abstracts: CLPA 2023

The Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA) is organised biennially by the African Land Policy Centre (ALPC), a joint initiative of the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and the African Development Bank. The goal is to deepen capacity for land policy in Africa through …

2023 Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA 2023)

From November 21 to 24, 2023, the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will be holding the Fifth Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA) in the context of the Year of AfCFTA: Acceleration …

Land observatories, discourses and struggles beyond the smokescreen: A case study in Senegal

Authors: Quentin Grislain and Jeremy Bourgoin
Published: 2023
Source: Land Use Policy

Sub-Saharan Africa is confronted with land issues such as the private appropriation of farmland, land use conflicts, and access to land for women and younger generations. These diverse issues and the promotion of evidence-based policies encourage actors in …

Beyond land grabbing narratives, acknowledging patterns and regimes of land control in Senegal

Authors: Jeremy Bourgoin, Djibril Diop, Camille Jahel, Roberto Interdonato, and Quentin Grislain
Published: 2023
Source: Land Use Policy

This paper, co-authored by members of the Land Matrix, looks at how, despite a growing awareness, the patterns and regimes of dispossession are still subject to blind spots, due in part to …

Rapport d’analyse de la situation des acquisitions de terre à grande échelle (ATGE) dans le secteur agricole au Sénégal

Authors: Diop, D., Bourgoin, J., Ba, A., Dièye, M., Segnane, S., Grislain, Q.
Published: 2022

Au Sénégal les acquisitions de terre à grande échelle (ATGE) se développent dans un contexte marqué par de multiples défis qui ont des implications sur la gouvernance foncière. Malheureusement, les données disponibles sur …

Realizing responsible investment in agriculture: What can policy-makers in Africa learn from Southeast Asia?

Author: Nyaguthii Maina
Published: 2022
Source: International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Globally, there has been positive momentum to develop and implement new national laws and international guidance frameworks to promote “responsible” investment in land and agriculture, but Africa still lags far behind other regions in responsible investment practice. Today, …

Little change in land governance practice

Authors: Ward Anseeuw, Jeremy Bourgoin, and Angela Harding
Published: 2022
Source: Rural 21 - The International Journal for Rural Development

Without doubt, the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT) have promoted development and uptake of global and regional land policy frameworks and guidelines. But what about implementation …

Large-scale agricultural investments, employment opportunities and communal conflict

Authors: Alexander De Juan, Lisa Hoffmann and Jann Lay
Published: 2022
Source: OSF Preprints

This paper, co-authored by the Land Matrix's Jann Lay from GIGA and using Land Matrix data, investigates whether and how large-scale agricultural investments (LSAIs) influence the risk of communal conflict. The study assessed a mechanism that …

Little progress in practice: Assessing transparency, inclusiveness and sustainability in large-scale land acquisitions in Africa

While acknowledging the progress made in terms of investment guidelines and land policy reforms at national and global levels over the last 10 years, the Land Matrix Initiative reveals staggeringly low compliance with these in Africa – an indication of the lack of change in investment and land governance practice. …

Transparency, inclusiveness and sustainability in global (land) investment

Notwithstanding aspirational global frameworks and policy reforms at national levels with regards global investment, in general and in agriculture and land in particular, an essential question remains: how have these significant legal improvements impacted on the practices on the ground? On one hand, this Infopoint conference endeavors to contribute to …

Large-scale agricultural investments and household vulnerability to food insecurity: Evidence from Kenya, Madagascar and Mozambique

Authors: Wegayehu Fitawek and Sheryl L Hendriks
Published: 2022
Source: African Journal on Land Policy and Geospatial Sciences

This study, which used Land Matrix data, set out to estimate the role of large-scale agricultural investments (LSAIs) on household vulnerability to food insecurity in sample communities in Kenya, Madagascar and Mozambique …

What are the effects of large-scale land acquisitions in Africa on selected economic and social indicators?

Authors: Dr Regina Neudert and Dr Lieske Voget-Kleschin
Published: 2021

In the Global South, the demand for fertile land has resulted in international investors making large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs). Africa is by far the most targeted continent in this respect. According to the Land Matrix, 37% of the …

Land Matrix Analytical Report III: Taking stock of the global land rush

More than 10 years since the surge in large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) in developing countries which followed the spike in agricultural commodity prices in the late 2000s, the Land Matrix Initiative has taken stock of the “global land rush” and its socio-economic and environmental impacts in this, our third analytical …

Africa Land Forum 2021

ILC Africa's annual Land Forum will take place virtually from October 26-28 under the theme “Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa through partnerships for inclusive land governance”. The forum will bring together the region’s foremost actors on land governance to explore opportunities, and mobilise forces, on building forward using …

Tracking down the elusive data on land deals in Malawi

Author: Madalitso A. Kamenya, Agricultural Economist, Land Matrix Africa (hosted by the University of Pretoria)

Land is one of the most valuable assets in Malawi, but is considered underdeveloped. To increase productivity, efforts have therefore been made to increase large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) throughout the country. However, information on these …

Transparency of land-based investments: Cameroon country snapshot

Authors: Sam Szoke-Burke, Samuel Nguiffo, and Stella Tchoukep
Published: 2021
Source: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment

Despite a recent transparency law and participation in transparency initiatives, Cameroon’s investment environment remains plagued by poor transparency. In a new report focusing on agribusiness projects in Cameroon, CCSI and the Centre pour …

Forests to the foreigners: Large-scale land acquisitions in Gabon

Authors: Danielle D. Legault and Logan Cochrane
Published: 2021
Source: Land

For the past decade, the land rush discourse has analyzed foreign investment in land and agriculture around the world, with Africa being a continent of particular focus due to the scale of acquisitions that have taken place. Gabon, a …

Evaluating the impact of large-scale agricultural investments on household food security using an endogenous switching regression model

Authors: Wegayehu Fitawek and Sheryl L Hendriks
Published: 2021
Source: Land

This study set out to estimate the effects of large-scale agricultural investments (LSAIs) on household food security in one community each in Kenya, Madagascar and Mozambique. An endogenous switching regression model was adopted to control for a possible selection …

Africa’s Land Rush – what do we really know?

Oxfam Blogs guest post by Wytske Chamberlain and Wegayehu Fitawek of Land Matrix Africa, hosted by the University of Pretoria 

Remember the global riots over food set off by sharp spikes in commodity prices in 2008? The biofuel hype as THE solution to dirty oil? And the financial crisis that …

Large-scale land investments and forests in Africa

Authors: Caterina Conigliani, Nadia Cuffaro and Giovanna D’Agostino
Published: 2018
Source: Land Use Policy

Recent years have witnessed an increasing interest in land-based investments for food, feed, fuel, and fibre, driven by the volatility in commodity prices, economic growth of emerging economies, policy drivers of biofuel demand, and investor strategies …

Bulletin Actualité Foncière de Observatoire National de la Gouvernance Foncière

Pour répondre au manque d’informations transparentes sur les investissements à incidences foncières, la société civile Sénégalaise, au sein du cadre de réflexion et d’action sur le foncier au Sénégal (CRAFS), a lancé en 2015 une plate-forme multipartite, appelée Observatoire National de la Gouvernance Foncière (ONGF), pour suivre les dyna-miques …

Country profile: Ghana

Since large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) cover less than 9% of Ghana’s 4.7 million hectares of arable land, it may not seem like they would have a significant impact on the country’s agricultural landscape. However, their impact in fact goes far beyond the land footprint only, through their use of water …

Driving dispossession: The global push to “unlock the economic potential of land”

Authors: Frédéric Mousseau, Andy Currier, Elizabeth Fraser, and Jessie Green

Published: 2020

Source: The Oakland Institute

Driving Dispossession: The Global Push to “Unlock the Economic Potential of Land,” sounds the alarm on the unprecedented wave of privatization of natural resources that is underway around the world. Through six case studies—Ukraine, …

Foreign agriculture investments don’t always threaten food security: The case of Madagascar

Authors: Wegayehu Fitawek and Prof Sheryl L Hendriks

Source: The Conversation

Published: 1 September 2020

Large-scale land acquisitions have been increasing in developing countries following the 2007/8 high food price crisis. Countries with limited agricultural potential, like Gulf states, have been driving foreign acquisitions in developing countries. Many …

Africa Land Forum 2020

Delivering on the African Union Agenda 2063 by Promoting People-Centred Land Governance in Africa

In partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the 2020 Africa Land Forum will be held online from 15-17 September . The Forum will bring together 300-500 participants from …

Uganda Land Observatory knowledge and information platform is live!

The Uganda Land Observatory has developed a dynamic new website dedicated to capturing existing knowledge and collecting new data on land deals in the country. The goal of the Uganda Land Observatory is to strengthen land governance and improve transparency in land transactions to promote greater consistency with the Africa …

A look at the Senegalese agricultural model: Land practices and territorial specificities of medium and large-scale farms

Authors: Jérémy Bourgoin, Djibril Diop, Djiby Dia, Moussa Sall, Romaric Zagré, Quentin Grislain, and Ward Anseeuw

Published: 2020

Source: Cahiers Agricultures

The food issue related to population growth is at the heart of international sustainable development agendas and feeds the debates on the transitions to be undertaken or supported. Often …

Regard sur le modèle agricole sénégalais: Pratiques foncières et particularités territoriales des moyennes et grandes exploitations agricoles

Auteurs: Jérémy Bourgoin, Djibril Diop, Djiby Dia, Moussa Sall, Romaric Zagré, Quentin Grislain et Ward Anseeuw

Publié: 2020

La source: Cahiers Agricultures

L’enjeu alimentaire lié à l’augmentation démographique est au cœur des agendas internationaux de développement durable et nourrit les débats sur les transitions à entreprendre ou soutenir. Souvent défini …

Large agricultural investments in Kenya’s Nanyuki Area: Inventory and analysis of business models

Authors: Markus Giger, Emily Mutea, Boniface Kiteme, Sandra Eckert, Ward Anseeuw, Julie G. Zaehringer

Published: 2020

Source: Land Use Policy journal

Many experts agree that more agricultural investment is needed in the global South to improve local food security and reduce poverty. However, there is a lack of consensus about …

Tropical forest loss enhanced by large-scale land acquisitions

Authors: Davis, K.F., Koo, H.I., Dell’Angelo, J. et al.

Published: 2020

Source: Nature Geoscience

Tropical forests are vital for global biodiversity, carbon storage and local livelihoods, yet they are increasingly under threat from human activities. Large-scale land acquisitions have emerged as an important mechanism linking global resource demands to forests …

Better understanding land acquisition in Ghana through the Land Matrix Data Campaign

Ghana has seen a significant surge in large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) in recent years, and has in fact become one of the LSLA hotspots in Africa. However, since the way in which the number of transactions, estimated size of land, and categorisation of LSLAs is captured varies considerably between different …

Land inequality and economic growth: A meta-analysis

Authors: Maria Cipollina, Nadia Cuffaro and Giovanna D’Agostino

Published: 2018

Source: Sustainability, MDPI

Increasing commercial pressure on land may lead to land concentration in developing countries, especially in the context of complex systems of property rights. In this article we review through meta-analysis (MA) the econometric findings of the …

Land deals in Africa: Many suffer challenges

Author: Phillan Zamchiya

Published: 2020

Source: Institute for Poverty Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS)

Abstract: Globally, Africa remains the largest continent attracting land-based investments from the world. Data from the Land Matrix indicates that there were 422 transnational land deals concluded in the agricultural sector (42% of all global deals) …

Going beyond panaceas: The diversity of land observatory forms in Africa

Authors: Quentin Grislain, Jeremy Bourgoin, Ward Anseeuw, Perrine Burnod, Eva Hershaw and Djibril Diop

Published: 2020

Source: Land Journal

In recent decades, mechanisms for observation and information production have proliferated in an attempt to meet the growing needs of stakeholders to access dynamic data for the purposes of informed decision-making. …

ILC Africa 2019 Regional Assembly and Land Forum

The 2019 Regional Assembly of the Africa Platform of International Land Coalition will be held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast from 21 to 24 November 2019.

This year’s event is special because it happens just before the 3rd Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA), a continental event organised by the …

Planning and advocacy in Cameroon with the Land Matrix

The African continent is the most targeted region for large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) in the global south. Given the sheer scale of this, monitoring these deals can be extremely challenging – but it is crucial that we do so, as access to land is closely linked to a number of …

This Land Is My Land! Large-Scale Land Acquisitions and Conflict Events in Sub-Saharan Africa

Authors: Sara Balestri and Mario A. Maggioni

Published: 2019

Source: Journal of Defence and Peace Economics

The paper, which uses Land Matrix data, provides evidence that large-scale land acquisitions in sub-Saharan Africa raise the likelihood of experiencing outbursts of organised violence. This evidence is achieved through a spatially disaggregated approach, …

Land deals threaten to impair River Nile

Author: Fredrick Mugira

Source: New Vision

Published: 26 March 2019

In the hilly southwestern region of Uganda, a life-line river of about five million people has had up to 80 percent of its water dry up. The national environment watchdog, NEMA, says the prime factor drying Rwizi River is illegal …

The state of land-based investments in Tanzania: A situational analysis report

Author: Emmanuel Sulle

Published: 2017

Source: Tanzania Natural Resource Forum

From the mid-2000s, Tanzania has experienced a significant interest in land-based investments, with foreign investors leasing chunks of land for agriculture, tourism and forest plantations. To date, few land-based investments have generated significant incomes for rural communities, while others are …

Policy brief: Making land-based investments work for communities in Tanzania

Authors: Masalu Luhula, Godfrey Massay, Naomi Shadrack, Zakaria Faustin, Sophia Masuka and Emmanuel Sulle

Published: 2019

Source: Tanzania Natural Resource Forum

Tanzanian policy makers have an opportunity to spearhead the implementation of the country’s industrialisation agenda through integrated and people-centred land-based investments. In a country where most people depend on …

Palm oil production, good or bad for Africa?

Authors: Angela Harding and Danya-Zee Pedra

Source: Africa is a Country

Unsustainable palm oil industry practices—the result of large-scale land acquisitions (LSLA) across Africa's tropical belt—have resulted in a number of social and environmental concerns. Palm oil is one of the most rapidly expanding crops in Africa, and has been …

Tracking changes in land governance to inform law reform in Cameroon: Methodology note

Authors: CED and IIED

Published: 2019

Source: LandCam

LandCam will track developments in policy and practice relevant to land governance, in the light of guidance or commitments contained in applicable international instruments. To develop a list of ten major policy questions to be tracked, the LandCam team identified land-related provisions …

Towards fair and effective legislation on compulsory land acquisition in Cameroon

Cameroon is part of a global trend towards large-scale investments in infrastructure, agriculture, extractive industries, industrial facilities and real estate that are displacing many people. Deeming these projects in the public interest, governments often acquire land by expropriating locally-held land rights. But compulsory land acquisition has severe economic, social and …

China in Cameroon’s forests: A review of issues and progress for livelihoods and sustainability

Authors: James Mayers, Samuel Nguiffo and Samuel Assembe-​Mvondo

Published: 2019

Source: IIED

Chinese investment in Cameroon – in roads, water, electricity, ports, agribusiness and forestry - is estimated to be worth two times more than all other sources of investment combined. But it comes with major implications for forests and …

Apes, crops and communities: land concessions and conservation in Cameroon

Authors: Michelle Sonkoue and Samuel Nguiffo

Published: 2019

Source: IIED

Cameroon’s current land law appears to have two conflicting objectives: to attract investors through large-scale land concessions while simultaneously protecting biodiversity, defending local people’s rights and promoting rural development. But the legislation governing large-scale land-based investments is outdated and sometimes …

Les observatoires fonciers en Afrique: Diversité des formes, facteurs d’émergence et de succès

Authors: Quentin Grislain, Jérémy Bourgoin, Djibril Diop, Ward Anseeuw, Perrine Burnod, and Djiby Dia

Published: 2019

In recent decades, observatories have multiplied. Some of these observatories, known as land observatories, may reflect the need for knowledge and information in view of the scale and diversity of land issues (large-scale land …

S’approprier la terre : du libéralisme au néocolonialisme

Depuis la crise financière de 2008, la terre agricole s’impose de nouveau sur les marchés internationaux comme un placement lucratif. Si nombre d’investisseurs sont à la recherche d’une rentabilité intéressante, on observe aussi dans cette course à l’achat de terres arables de nouveaux acteurs et de nouveaux enjeux : après …

Land Matrix National Land Observatory launched in Uganda

By Israel Bionyi Nyoh, Communications Specialist Africa, International Land Coalition Africa

Uganda has new combat gear – and it’s not going to be used to tear down homes and destroy lives. Instead it will arm the country with a platform to fight for land rights, peace and justice, and comes …

Profil pays République Démocratique du Congo

Ce profil pays présente les données de la Land Matrix pour et comprend les acquisitions de terres à grande échelle le République Démocratique du Congo.


Liberia country profile

This detailed country profile presents the Land Matrix data for large-scale land acquisitions in Liberia.

Download it here.

Profil pays le Madagascar

Ce profil pays présente les données de la Land Matrix pour et comprend les acquisitions de terres à grande échelle le Madagascar.


Sierra Leone country profile

This detailed country profile presents the Land Matrix data for large-scale land acquisitions in Sierra Leone.

Download it here.

Profil pays le Sénégal

Ce profil pays présente les données de la Land Matrix pour et comprend les acquisitions de terres à grande échelle le Sénégal.


Senegal country profile

This detailed country profile presents the Land Matrix data for large-scale land acquisitions in Senegal.

Download it here.

Tanzania country profile

This detailed country profile presents the Land Matrix data for large-scale land acquisitions in Tanzania.

Download it here.

Zambia country profile

This detailed country profile presents the Land Matrix data for large-scale land acquisitions in Zambia.

Download it here.

Land Matrix Analytical Report II: International Land Deals for Agriculture - Fresh insights from the Land Matrix

Authors: Kerstin Nolte, Wytske Chamberlain, Markus Giger
Published: 2016

This report aims to contribute to the body of knowledge available on land acquisitions in low- and middle-income countries by presenting an up-to-date analysis of the data contained in the Land Matrix database and providing complementary evidence based on case studies. …


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