P130
Possession by dispossession: interrogating land grab and protest in Africa
Convenor:
Noah Attah (Joseph Ayo Babalola University)
Chair:
Noah Attah
Discussant:
David Olayan
Location:
2E08
Start time:
29 June, 2013 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

While most discourses on land grab in Africa have been dominated by its impact on food security and the livelihoods of the rural people, resistance and protests to the massive dispossession and displacement have not been given adequate attention.

Long abstract:

Over the past five years, the convergence of global crises in finance, food, energy, and the environment has driven a revaluation of land ownership. Powerful transnational and national economic actors therefore began to invest in African land for fuel and food production for their needs back at home. The pace and extent of these land deals has been rapid and widespread, a situation that has now become the case of "possession by dispossession". The World Bank estimated that in 2009 alone, 56 million hectares of farmland were acquired around the world, two-thirds of it in Africa. Furthermore, nearly 60 million hectares of land - an area the size of France - has been bought or leased by foreign companies in Africa between 2009 and 2011. Most lands that have been acquired are veritable sources of the livelihoods of poor and vulnerable rural groups. Threat posed by land grab, especially of forceful dispossession of land and displacement of traditional communities, has led to diverse forms of resistance and protests. While most discourses on land grab in Africa have been dominated by its impact on food security and the livelihoods of the rural people, resistance and protests to the massive dispossession and displacement have not been given adequate attention. The objective of this panel therefore is to examine the forms of protests and their economic and social consequences through rigorous analysis of the identified issues from economic history and agrarian political economy perspectives.