The rush for land in Southern Africa


The new Millennium has marked the advent of a new global land rush worldwide. Growing demand for food, feed, fuels, and other commodities, combined with a shrinking resource base and the liberalization of trade and investment regimes are among the factors driving this phenomenon. As about half of the 80 percent of the world's reserve agricultural land is located in Africa (FAO 2009), the continent has been a target of choice for foreign land investors, which raises fundamental questions on agricultural development, food security, land rights, climate change and ecosystem management. Southern Africa is not spared by the phenomenon and is reported to be one of the most affected regions. This policy brief presents an overall assessment of the large-scale land acquisition phenomenon in Southern Africa. It details the state of these acquisitions, their features and the drivers that have led to the latter in the region. It is mainly based on a desktop study which includes an analysis of data provided by the Land Matrix.