Exploring the triangular relationship between local populations, investors and ruling elites in large-scale investments in natural resources from a political economy perspective.
Large-scale investments in natural resources, extractives and agriculture could help transform economies in Africa by accelerating economic growth, create jobs and strengthen links between local economies and the global economy. However, such investments often end up violating local land rights, which in turn can result in social protests and political instability. Land-related investments are examples of situations in which urban and rural interests and logics intersect, often in a conflictual manner. This panel explores the triangular relationship between local populations in investment locations (smallholders as well as other community members), investors (domestic and foreign) and ruling elites (including both political and bureaucratic actors). The aim is to explore from a political economy perspective, the exchange deals that emerge between local populations and investors, the social relations underpinning the interchange between local populations and ruling elites, as well as the exchange relations between investors and ruling elite. The panel welcomes papers on large-scale investments in natural resources that explore any of these three relations or the triangular relation of all three groups of actors, and especially welcomes empirical studies applying a political economy perspective and how it intersect with a rights perspective. Since recent research on land-related investments has primarily focused on conflictual relations between the local population and other actors, papers exploring conditions for other outcomes of investments are encouraged.