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 in the wake of the global economic crisis. This interest has led to a surge of foreign and local investments in developing countries, where land can be obtained at a lower cost, and it has led to fears of land grabbing. In this paper, we consider the problem of identifying the determinants of large-scale land acquisitions in Africa and employ a unilateral beta regression to explore the link between investments and a number of indicators related to both land supply and institutional features. The results on the resource-seeking nature of investments and the impact of the land governance indicators are mostly in line with the findings of other studies. On the contrary, the results on forest land being a driver for large-scale land acquisitions, especially from international investors in Africa, differ from previous findings and indicate commercial pressure on African forests that may lead to accelerating degradation and deforestation.