Expectations and implications of the rush for land

Understanding the opportunities and risks at stake in Africa

Authored by: Ward Anseeuw , Lorenzo Cotula , Mike Taylor

Handbook of Land and Water Grabs in Africa

Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  September  2012

Print ISBN: 9781857436693
eBook ISBN: 9780203110942
Adobe ISBN:


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As the global rush for land following the 2007/08 food price crisis began hitting world headlines, initial observers could not help but provide basic, often contradictory prognoses. The lack of firm evidence of impacts led observers to relate current events to historical ones, with some condemning the ‘neo-colonial land-grab’ 1 while others touted the opportunity for ‘win–win– win’ solutions for investors (World Bank 2010), local populations and host governments which would overcome three decades of declining investment in agriculture in the south (HLPE 2011). While each of these characterisations may provide some insight and carry some truth, commentators were inevitably limited by a lack of empirical evidence in the current context to go beyond statements that were based more on ideology, hope or fear than evidence.

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